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It looks like Willie Nelson and Lauryn Hill have something in common: a federal criminal record for tax evasion! The Fugees frontwoman pled guilty to three counts of tax evasion in a New Jersey courtroom last Friday. Hill is looking at the very real possibility of up to three years in prison – one year for each count of tax evasion.
Hill declined to file the tax returns with the IRS for the years 2005, 2006, and 2007, totaling approximately $1.6 million.
Addressing her decision to plead guilty, Hill stated, “I’ve been advised my ability to speak out directly is for another time, at sentencing.”
Hill’s sentencing is scheduled for November.
We very much want to hear what the 37-year-old singer has to say. However, she has offered a lengthy and thoughtful explanation already to fans through her blog. Hill wrote that she chose to live off the grid by not filing tax returns during those years for the safety and protection of her family.
“Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments, as authorities, who despite being told of all this, still chose to pursue action against me, as opposed to finding an alternative solution,” Hill wrote.
Anyone else super curious to hear more about the link between how filing her taxes could endanger her family?
Hill also wrote in her blog that she paid taxes while “working consistently,” and “only stopped when it was necessary to withdraw from society, in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of myself and my family. As this, and other areas of issue are resolved and set straight, I am able to get back to doing what I should be doing, the way it should be done.”
The singer wanted to make it very clear, "I did not deliberately abandon my fans, nor did I deliberately abandon any responsibilities, but I did however put my safety, health and freedom and the freedom, safety and health of my family first over all other material concerns!"
Hill is an eight-time Grammy-winning singer and mother of six. She maintains that she has been targeted by the government due to her celebrity status.
“There are many people in society who fail to file their taxes on time who only face civil liability," Hill's lawyer, Nathan Hockman, said. "They chose Ms. Hill in particular because of who she was."