Last Monday, U.S. magistrate judge sentenced Grammy-winning hip hop artist Lauryn Hill to three months in prison, three months in home confinement and a $60,000 fine for federal tax evasion.
Last year Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to file tax returns on more than $1.8 million of income between 2005 and 2007 and faced up to three years in prison.
Hill has credited her failure to pay taxes to years of pressure she practiced as a recording star all at the same time with raising six children, causing her to go underground and shut away from the public eye.
On the eve of her scheduled sentencing, Hill paid $504,000 in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service and another $420,000 to the state of New Jersey, her attorney told the court. She still owes another $285,000 in interest and penalties.
“When the government is asking for 36 months and the judge gives three months, I think the judge gave a fair and reasonable sentence,” Hill’s attorney Nathan Hochman told reporters.
Thirty months to the maximum of 36 months was asked by the prosecutors for a sentence.
Hill’s lack of a criminal record, her six children and her repayment of the back taxes as mitigating factors in the sentence, cited U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo.
Hill, native of South Orange, New Jersey, must report on or before July 8. Her attorney asked the court to assign her a facility close to home. Part of one year of supervised probation is the three months of home confinement following the prison stay.
Hill told the court she pulled away from society because her life was in crisis, received veiled threats and was blacklisted because she did not conform to the norms of the music industry.
“I was being perceived as a cash cow, not a person,” Hill said.
Just this Friday, a new single by Hill, her first in several years, called “Neurotic Society,” was posted on iTunes.
“Here is a link to a piece that I was ‘required’ to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline,” her Tumblr social media page said on Saturday.
She signed a new contract with Sony Worldwide Entertainment and was working on her first album of new material in more than a decade, her lawyers attest.
Hill’s seminal 1998 solo album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” won the singer five Grammy awards. She was a former member of the Fugees rap trio.