Hip hop artist Lauryn Hill has been sentenced to three months in prison, three months house arrest, one year’s probation and a $60,000 (€45,000) fine for federal tax evasion.
After failing to file tax returns between 2005 and 2007, Hill faced a three year jail sentence and fines on more than $1.8 million unpaid taxes.
She argued that she was unable to pay the taxes as at the time she had just left the music industry to raise her children, stating: ‘I needed to be able to earn so I could pay my taxes, without compromising the health and welfare of my children, and I was being denied that.’
Before the sentencing, Hill paid $420,000 to the state of New Jersey, $504,000 to the IRS and still owes $285,000. Prosecutors had been demanding a sentence of 30 – 36 months for the singer, but based on the back taxes she already paid, her lack of criminal record and the fact she has six children, her sentence was reduced to three months. Her attorney said ‘When the government is asking for 36 months and the judge gives three months, I think the judge gave a fair and reasonable sentence.’
On Friday May 3rd, under pressure from her impending legal deadline, Hill released her first new single in several years. She also recently signed a new contract with Sony Worldwide Entertainment and has been working on a new album which is due for release later this year.
Hill has to report to a facility close to her home of South Orange, New Jersey on or before July 8th.