12:34pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Lauryn Hill Pleads Guilty to Not Filing Tax Returns
Lauryn Hill has pleaded guilty to not filing income tax returns from 2005 to 2007.
The Grammy-winning singer made her plea Friday at a New Jersey courthouse, reports The Associated Press.
Hill, a member of the Fugees before recording her 1998 breakthrough solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, failed to report $818,000 in income for 2005, $222,000 in income for 2006, and $761,000 in income for 2007, according to papers filed by a New Jersey prosecutor.
The singer largedly retreated from public view for years after Miseducation came out, and after tax charges were lodged against her June 7, she suggested on her blog that she didn't file a return out of concern for safety.
"In order to liberate myself from those who found it OK to oppose my wholeness, free speech and integral growth by inflicting different forms of punitive action against it, I used my resources to sustain our safety and survival until I was able to restore my ability to earn outside of it!" she wrote.
She went on to say that it didn't clear her but that she was disappointed that no alternative settlement could be worked out. She wrote, "Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments, as authorities, who despite being told all of this, still chose to pursue action against me, as opposed to finding an alternative solution."
Hill was charged with three counts of failing to file an income tax return, and each count carries up to a one-year sentence. Her lawyer reportedly told the judge that she intends to pay the money owed.
The AP says that she was given a chance to say something at the hearing but deferred it to later.
"Indirectly, I've been advised my ability to speak out directly is for another time, at sentencing," said Hill.