Lauryn Hill pleads guilty to tax charges, faces 3 years in prison | News

Grammy-winning singer and MC Lauryn Hill pled guilty Friday in a New Jersey federal courtroom to tax evasion charges. She faces up to three years in prison and $75,000 in fines.

Hill was hit with a total of three counts of tax evasion for failing to file returns on nearly $2 million earned between 2005 and 2007. Her attorney Nathan Hockman says the 37-year-old singer is being targeted because of her celebrity status.

“There are many people in society who fail to file their taxes on time who only face civil liability,” he said, according to the Star-Ledger. “They chose Ms. Hill in particular because of who she was.”

In a statement released shortly after news of her charges became public, Hill explained that her failure to file came after she removed herself and her family from the public eye in order to protect them from danger and used her resources “to sustain our safety and survival.”

“Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments,” she wrote. “My intention has always been to get this situation rectified. When I was working consistently without being affected by the interferences mentioned above, I filed and paid my taxes. This only stopped when it was necessary to withdraw from society, in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of myself and my family.”

TMZ reports that when Judge Michael Shipp asked Hill if she “intentionally and willingly” failed to file the returns, she replied “yes.”

Shipp also stated that, as a part of pre-sentencing proceedings, Hill’s mental health counseling was to be directed by pre-trial intervention services. When told the singer was already receiving family counseling and asked to clarify the mandate, Shipp said the court was not ordering her to receive new counseling but simply establishing that she must communicate with pre-trial services what mental health services she was utilizing, according to

Hill was released on $150,000 bail and will be sentenced on November 27.