Tax Evasion: Jail Time Begins for Lauryn Hill

Jul 9th 2013
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By Teresa Ambord

Lauryn Hill is officially behind bars. Her first meal, according to, 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 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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By Cali
Jun 25th 2015 20:11 EDT

So if she's so against the American system, why doesn't she move back to a country in Africa and become a citizen there? I hear she hangs out there anyways. A few years back she hung out with my friends in Rwanda. Why is she so against a country that brought her fame and fortune? Doesn't she realize the taxes she pays are going towards making more hospitals, schools, etc for the lower class portion of ppl she claims to be a part of before becoming famous?
Once again, Im so glad to live in Canada... Maybe the British were onto something after all :p there is less racism here and we are more 'united' as a result...
I think she can complain about the system when she makes an effort to change it or contribute to it for the better.
I love her song "killing me softly"... Now THAT was a good contribution Ms Hill!

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