Lauryn Hill, a prominent member of the now defunct U.S based hip hop group,The Fugees, is facing a three year jail term and $75,000 in fines after pleading guilty to tax evasion charges, on Friday.
Lauryn Hill admitted to a federal court, her failure to file three years of taxes on an estimated $1.8million income.
Nathan Hockman, Hill’s lawyer, said that the Grammy winner had been a target of 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,” said Mr. Hockman.
“They chose Ms. Hill in particular because of who she was,” he added.
Hill, sporting a white button-down shirt, blue blazer and long coral skirt, spoke little during the court session.
She, however, did raise concern when U.S District Judge Michael Shipp asked her if she had been forced to enter a guilty plea “either directly or indirectly.”
She also consulted her lawyer when the judge ordered her to undergo mental health counseling as directed by pre-trial intervention services.
Speaking through her lawyer, Hill asked the judge to clarify what he meant by the words ‘directly’ and ‘directed.’
“Ms. Hill is very particular about language,” Hockman told the judge.
“Language is very important to Ms. Hill.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Hill, 37, did not file returns with the Internal Revenue Service between 2005 and 2007.
Hill, whose primary source of income is royalties from the recording and film industries, owns four corporations: Creations Music, Inc., Boogie Tours Inc., L.H. Productions 2001 Inc., and Studio 22 Inc.
Earlier this month, she explained her reasons for failing to file her taxes on her Tumblr account.
According to her, she withdrew from society to keep herself and her family safe from pop culture’s “climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism.”
Hill rose to fame as a member of the Fugees in the 1990s. Her debut solo album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” sold more than 10 million copies after its release in 1998 and won five Grammy awards.