Lauryn Hill today admitted that she failed to pay income taxes on nearly $2 million worth of income.
The singer and South Orange resident pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to tax evasion for three years, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today. The maximum penalty for each charge is one year in prison plus fines and court costs.
Hill, best known for her work with fellow singer Wyclef Jean in the group The Fugees, and for her solo recording, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, waived her right to a trial, appearing today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Shipp.
Attempts to reach Hill for comment were unsuccessful.
Hill was charged with three counts of failing to file tax returns with the IRS, for calendar years 2005, 2006 and 2007. Her income during those years totaled more than $1.8 million, according to documents filed in this case and statements made in court.
In addition to being an entertainer, Hill owned and operated four sub-chapter S corporations and had as her primary source of income royalties from the recording and film industries. The corporations include Creations Music, Inc., Boogie Tours, Inc., L.H. Productions 2001, Inc. and Studio 22, Inc.
Hill was first charged on June 8. At that time her income for the three years in question was estimated at $1.6 million.
The singer responded publicly to the charges via a post on her Tumblr account. She described the years in question as "this period of crisis." Hill explains that, after "having put the lives and needs of other people before my own for multiple years, and having made hundreds of millions of dollars for certain institutions, under complex and sometimes severe circumstances, I began to require growth and more equitable treatment, but was met with resistance." She then stepped back from the limelight, and "I have remained what others would consider underground."
Hill, who graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood, won five Grammy awards, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year. She and her six children live in South Orange.
Hill is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 27, 2012.