Lauryn Hill gets 3 months for failing to pay taxes
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill stood in federal court Monday and compared her experience in the music business to the slavery her ancestors endured before a judge sentenced her to three months in prison for failing to pay about $1 million in taxes over the past decade.
"I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them," Hill said before U.S. Magistrate Madeline Cox Arleo. "I had an economic system imposed on me."
Hill, who started singing with the Fugees as a teenager in the 1990s before releasing her multiplatinum 1998 album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," pleaded guilty last year to failing to pay taxes on more than $1.8 million earned from 2005 to 2007. Monday's sentencing also took into account unpaid state and federal taxes in 2008 and 2009 that brought the total earnings to about $2.3 million.
FILE - This April 15, 2011 file photo shows singer Lauryn Hill performing during the 12th Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. Hill is facing sentencing Monday, May 6, 2013 in New Jersey on federal tax charges. Hill pleaded guilty last year to not paying federal taxes on $1.8 million earned from 2005 to 2007. A judge two weeks ago said Hill had paid only about $50,000 of more than $500,000 she owes. Hill said she has signed a recording contract with Sony that will help her pay her taxes. Citing the legal deadline, she made a song available on iTunes over the weekend. She faces up to a year in prison on each of three counts. Her attorney is seeking probation for her. (AP Photo/Spencer Weiner, file)
Despite having paid more than $900,000 in the past several days, Hill still owes interest and penalties, the U.S. attorney's office said.
In a forceful but controlled statement to the judge punctuated by occasional raps with her first on the podium, Hill described how she failed to pay taxes during a period when she'd dropped out of the music business to protect herself and her children, who now number six.
She said the treatment she received while she was in the entertainment business led to her decision to leave it.