Lauryn Hill Tax Evasion Sentencing Delayed, Judge Calls Case "A Criminal Matter"
Lauryn Hill isn't quite off the hook just yet. The "Doo Wop" singer, who pleaded guilty to three years' worth of tax evasion during a court case in June 2012, is still waiting to find out what the final sentencing for her crimes will be, a federal judge decided on Monday, Apr. 22.
Hill, 37, arrived at court in Newark, N.J. only to be told that her hearing would be delayed to May 6. The singer didn't leave the courtroom completely empty-handed, however. U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo scolded Hill for failing to pay off her restitution in time for her sentencing.
"This is not someone who stands before the court penniless," Arleo said to Hill's attorney, Nathan Hochman. "This is a criminal matter. Actions speak louder than words, and there has been no effort here to pay these taxes."
Hill has thus far only paid $50,000 of the total $554,000 she owes in retribution, it was revealed in court on Monday. The former Fugees band member kept her head low and didn't comment as she left the court, according to the Associated Press.
The full amount that Hill owes in taxes -- based on the estimated $1.8 million she earned during 2005, 2006, and 2007 -- is still up for discussion. Earlier this month, Hill filed papers asking the court to reexamine her reasons for failing to pay three years' worth of taxes before deciding on a final sentence.
According to the documents, "she withdrew from society at large due to what she perceived as manipulation and very real threats to herself and her family." The Grammy winner also reasoned that it would be more difficult for her to pay back the debt from behind bars.
The singer could face up to three years in prison for her crimes -- a decision that she has argued is due in large part to her celebrity status.
"There are many people who fail to file their taxes on time who only face civil liability," Hochman told The New Jersey Star-Ledger in June 2012. "They chose Ms. Hill in particular because of who she was."
Hill is mother to six children -- Zion, Selah, Joshua, John, Sarah, and Micah (her five oldest kids are by the late Bob Marley's son, Rohan Marley).