Lauren Hill at Highline Ballroom, June 2012 (more by Bao Nguyen)
Acclaimed hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill took responsibility for failing to file three years of taxes on income of $1.8 million and pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges today in federal court.Just when Lauryn was getting her career back on track! Of course Lauryn is nowhere near the first celebrity with tax problems. (Willie Nelson and Little Wayne to name a few.) Good luck Lauryn!
The South Orange native could face up to three years in prison and $75,000 in fines for her offenses and will be sentenced in late November.
Hill's attorney Nathan Hockman said the star had been targeted by the federal government because of her celebrity status.
"There are many people in society who fail to file their taxes on time who only face civil liability," Hockman said. "They chose Ms. Hill in particular because of who she was."
Hill spoke little at her hearing today and stood attentively with her arms crossed in front of her chest when the judge first addressed her. She appeared in a white button-down shirt, blue blazer and long coral skirt.
She did, however, take issue with two statements made by U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp that she discussed in whispers with Hockman at length.
Hill raised her concerns with Hockman when the judge asked her if anyone had forced her to enter a guilty plea either directly or indirectly, and again when the judge ordered her to undergo mental health counseling as directed by pre-trial intervention services.
Through her attorney, Hill asked the judge to clarify what he meant by the words "directly" and "directed."
"Ms. Hill is very particular about language," Hockman said. "Language is very important to Ms. Hill." [NJ.com]