Lauryn Hill pled guilty to tax evasion today in federal court. The one-time member of The Fugees and five-time Grammy winner owed taxes on $1.8 million of income, and now could face up to three years in prison and $75,000 in fines. She’ll be sentenced in late November.
Earlier this month, Hill posted a lengthy explanation of her lifestyle and non-payment of taxes on Tumblr, where all serious business is conducted. In it, she said that she has withdrawn from society over the last few years because of perceived dangers in the culture, as well as to “establish a new and very necessary community of healthy people, and also heal and detoxify myself and my family while raising my young children.” She feels threatened by, among other things, “pop culture cannibalism,” blacklisting, over-commercialization, addiction, and being “distorted or economically strong-armed.” And it’s because of all those “dangers” that she somehow forgot to pay three years of taxes—an excuse that, unsurprisingly, the government did not buy.
In addition to holding her criminally responsible, the judge ordered Hill to undergo mental health counseling. Hill’s lawyer contends that his client was targeted because of her fame, saying, “There are many people in society who fail to file their taxes on time who only face civil liability.”