By Ken Berry
Singer and actress Lauryn Hill, who captured five Grammy awards for her critically acclaimed 1998 album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, has been charged with failing to pay taxes on income totaling $1.8 million. According to the US Attorney's office, Hill didn't file tax returns with the IRS for the three-year period covering 2005, 2006, and 2007.
The New Jersey native has been known for her reclusive, and sometimes erratic and confrontational, behavior ever since she first rose to fame as a member of the Fugees hip-hop group. She eventually settled a contentious lawsuit in 2001 after four musicians accused her of cheating them out of production credits on her breakout Grammy award-winning album. After reuniting with the Fugees in 2005, the tour was cut short when Hill abruptly departed without offering any explanation.
But Hill recently resurfaced in the limelight. In April, she played before a sellout crowd in London. Just last week, her performance at a New York City ballroom and a surprise appearance the Hot 97 Summer Jam concert at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, garnered rave reviews.
Hill's primary source of income for the three tax years in question stems from royalties from four recording and film corporations she owns: Creations Music Inc., Boogie Tours Inc., L.H. Productions 2001 Inc., and Studio 22 Inc.
There's been no outward indication that Hill is in financial trouble. She lives quietly in South Orange, New Jersey, and has six children, including five with Rohan Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley. No liens have been filed against her.
Hill is now scheduled to appear before a US magistrate judge in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, on June 29. If found guilty, she faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.