Tax Evasion: Jail Time Begins for Lauryn Hill

By Teresa Ambord
 
Lauryn Hill is officially behind bars. Her first meal, according to TMZ.com, was "tasty BBQ pulled pork with a side of carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes." Doesn't sound too punitive.
 
In a Nutshell
Last year, Hill pled guilty to charges she failed to pay taxes for several years. Then in May, she appeared in court before Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to learn her fate. In addition to a fine and, of course, the payment of taxes, interest, and penalties owed, she could have gotten up to three years in prison. Instead, she got three months in prison, to begin July 8.
 
Once she's released at the end of her three-month sentence, Hill will spend another three months on home confinement and be on supervised parole for one year, which includes the home confinement time. She will also pay a fine of $60,000. 
 
The night before her sentencing appearance, Hill rushed to pay the taxes due, amounting to more than $900,000. She still owes interest and penalties accrued over the years of nonpayment. This show of financial responsibility and penitence may partially explain why Judge Arleo seemed to go easy on her. 
 
As ordered, on July 8 Hill reported to the Federal Correctional Institution Danbury in Connecticut. The minimum-security prison houses inmates in a dormitory style facility and expects them to take on jobs within the prison doing, such as maintenance, landscaping, and food service.
 
A New, Not-So-Penitent Tune
At the time of her sentencing, her attorney Nathan Hochman told CNN:
"When the government is asking for thirty-six months and the judge gives three months, I think the judge gave a fair and reasonable sentence. I think the judge took into account the incredible person that Miss Hill is, her contribution to society, the fact that she didn't have any criminal record, she fully accepted responsibility for her actions, that she plead guilty without a plea agreement, then fully paid back not just the taxes that she owed, but all the taxes that were part of this time period, and did it before sentencing."
 
That was then . . . this is now. By some accounts, in the weeks since her sentencing, Hill may have come to see the judge as less lenient and more beastly. A website called Province.com claims that a few days before reporting to jail, the previously penitent Hill blogged that Judge Arleo is a "grotesque slave master." 
 
Regardless, soon enough this will all be behind her and she can start fresh. 
 
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