Lauryn Hill Given Two More Weeks to Pay Back Taxes

Singer faces prison for failing to declare $1.8 million in income

Lauryn Hill is seen leaving court after the judge postponed her sentencing and gave her two weeks to pay back taxes in Newark, New Jersey.
Kena Betancur/Getty Images
April 23, 2013 9:55 AM ET

Lauryn Hill has two more weeks to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes after a federal judge postponed a sentencing hearing yesterday, The Associated Press reports.

Hill pleaded guilty guilty last summer to tax evasion for not filing returns accounting for $1.8 million in income between 2005 and 2007. The former Fugees singer promised to make restitution of $554,000 before she was sentenced. The court heard yesterday that the singer has paid only about $50,000.

Lauryn Hill Evaded Income Tax Returns for Three Years

"This is not someone who stands before the court penniless," U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo said during the hearing. "This is a criminal matter. Actions speak louder than words, and there has been no effort here to pay these taxes." 

While the reclusive Hill left the courtroom without a word, her attorney Nathan Hochman said she was about to sign a loan against two properties that would allow her to pay what she owes by the rescheduled sentencing date, May 6th.

Hochman and the government dispute the total amount Hill owes, with the latter putting the figure at slightly more than $1 million and the former at just under $1 million, counting civil penalties and interest. Hochman accused the government of bumping up the amount to exceed the million-dollar threshold, which would push Hill's potential sentencing range from 24 to 30 months to 30 to 36 months. Regardless of what the court decides, Hochman said he'll seek a probationary sentence for Hill, a mother of six.

While Hill has mostly kept quiet in court, she posted a note online responding to the charges and explaining why she retreated from the public eye: "I did whatever needed to be done in order to insulate my family from the climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism that I was surrounded by," she wrote, adding, "There were no exotic trips, no fleet of cars, just an all out war for safety, integrity, wholeness and health, without mistreatment, denial, and/or exploitation."

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