She earned millions in chart-topping band The Fugees and in her solo career.
And now Lauryn Hill faces three years behind bars after admitting in court today to failing to file tax returns between 2005 and 2007, during which time she earned $1.8m.
The eight time Grammy winner was spotted arriving for the scheduled hearing today in Newark, New Jersey looking downcast.
Hill, 37, was charged earlier this month with failing to file income tax returns for several years with the Internal Revenue Service.
Federal prosecutors accused her of not paying taxes on earnings in 2005, 2006 and 2007 from recording and film royalties
When the judge asked if Hill ‘intentionally and willingly’ failed to file the returns, she replied, ‘Yes.’
She faces a maximum of one year sentence on each of the three counts, on which she was charged three weeks ago.
During the hearing, her attorney Nathan Hochman said she planned to pay back the taxes she owes.
U.S. Magistrate Michael Shipp initially scheduled sentencing for early October but agreed to delay it until late November to give her time to make repayment.
Hill admitted she didn’t pay taxes on about $818,000 earned in 2005, $222,000 in 2006 and $761,000 in 2007. The money was earned by four corporations she owned.
In addition to the three in jail she could also be given up to $75,000 in fines.
Hill was released on $150,000 bail, and her sentencing hearing is set for November.
Dressed in a dark jacket, white button up shirt and a long peach skirt, Hill declined to comment after Friday’s hearing.
However in a lengthy post on her Tumblr page earlier this month she responded to the charges, claiming she wanted to leave mainstream society in protest against it’s climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism.’
She said: ‘Over commercialization and it’s resulting restrictions and limitations can be very damaging and distorting to the inherent nature of the individual.’I did not deliberately abandon my fans, nor did i deliberately abandon any responsibilities, but i did however put my safety, health and freedom and the freedom, safety and health of my family first over all other material concerns!
‘I also embraced my right to resist a system intentionally opposing my right to whole and integral survival.’
She also claimed in her online post that she explained herself to authorities when she was questioned about her failure to pay taxes.
Lauryn said: ‘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.’
Lauryn shot to fame as the lead singer of The Fugees, before beginning her solo career in 1998 with the critically acclaimed album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which remains her only album, barring an unplugged live recording.
She then largely disappeared from public view to raise her six children, five of whom she had with reggae singer Bob Marley’s son Rohan.
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