The South Orange native could face up to three years in prison and $75,000 in fines for her offenses and will be sentenced in late November.
Hill’s attorney Nathan Hockman said the star had been targeted by the federal government because of her celebrity status.
“There are many people in society who fail to file their taxes on time who only face civil liability,” Hockman said. “They chose Ms. Hill in particular because of who she was.”
Hill spoke little at her hearing today and stood attentively with her arms crossed in front of her chest when the judge first addressed her. She appeared in a white button-down shirt, blue blazer and long coral skirt.
She did, however, take issue with two statements made by U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp that she discussed in whispers with Hockman at length.
Hill raised her concerns with Hockman when the judge asked her if anyone had forced her to enter a guilty plea either directly or indirectly, and again when the judge ordered her to undergo mental health counseling as directed by pre-trial intervention services.
Through her attorney, Hill asked the judge to clarify what he meant by the words “directly” and “directed.”
“Ms. Hill is very particular about language,” Hockman said. “Language is very important to Ms. Hill.”
Earlier this month, Hill posted a lengthy explanation for failing to file her taxes on a personal website. Hill wrote that she withdrew from society to keep herself and her family safe from pop culture’s “climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism.”
Hill is not the first celebrity to run into tax trouble. Martha Stewart, Lindsey Lohan and Al Pacino have also been cited for failure to pay federal taxes.
Hill rose to fame as a member of the Fugees in the 1990s. Her debut solo album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” sold more than 10 million copies after its release in 1998 and won five Grammy awards.
Source: The Star-Ledger