Lauryn Hill Enters Prison For Three-Month Sentence Over Unpaid Taxes

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Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill

Singer and musician Lauryn Hill reported to the federal prison in Danbury, Conn., Monday to serve her three-month  sentence for failure to pay nearly $2 million in back taxes.

The Associated Press reports that Hill appeared without incident at the low security federal prison in Connecticut, where she will reside in “dormitory-style living quarters” for the next three months. Hill is reportedly expected to perform various jobs around the prison as well, reportedly in areas like landscaping or food service.

Back in May, Hill appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in federal court in Newark, N.J., where she was sentenced to three months after failing to file tax returns amounting to approximately $1.8 million from royalties earned between 2005 and 2007. In addition to her prison sentence, Hill is required to pay back all taxes owed plus a $60,000 fine. 

Hill, who rocketed to fame with her 1998 album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” stated in the courtroom that her time in the music industry amounted to little more than organized slavery, citing the relatively small cut she received from her 16 million album sales as proof. 

In court, Hill argued that executives profited off her image much more than she ever did, and that she always worked hard to provide for her six children. She stated that her refusal to pay taxes came during a break from the music industry, when she struggled to pay the bills to support her children.

"Someone did the math, and it came to around $600 million," she said. "And I sit here before you trying to figure out how to pay a tax debt? If that's not like enough to slavery, I don't know. This wasn't a life of jet-setting glamour. This was a life of sacrifice with very little time for myself and my children."

Once Hill is released from prison, she will be under house arrest for three additional months, followed by nine more months of parole supervision.

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