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Lauryn Hill sentence: Postponed so she can pay restitution

April 23, 2013|By Nardine Saad
  • Singer Lauryn Hill leaves federal court in Newark, N.J.
Singer Lauryn Hill leaves federal court in Newark, N.J. (Kena Betancur / Getty Images )

Lauryn Hill's sentence in her tax-evasion case has been postponed to May 6 because the singer had not yet paid restitution on the money she owes. She now has a two-week reprieve to gather the funds.

The eight-time Grammy winner appeared in a New Jersey federal court Monday to receive her sentence on charges of not paying taxes on $1.8 million in earnings. She had entered a guilty plea to three counts of tax evasion in June 2012, admitting that she intentionally failed to file tax returns in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Hill, 37, claimed that threats to her family were the reason she did not file the returns, NBC News reported.

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Her attorney had said at the time that she would pay restitution by the time of her sentencing, but it turns out she has paid only $50,000 of a total of $554,000, according to the Associated Press.

It is in dispute if the former Fugee owes more or less than $1 million, counting civil penalties and interest. If she owes more than $1 million, as the prosecution alleges, she faces a jail sentence of up to 36 months, rather than maximum sentence of 30 months if the figure is less than $1 million.

During her Monday court appearance, the singer, who became a solo star with her 1998 album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," was scolded by the judge for not paying the bill and relying too much on a recording contract, the AP and the BBC reported.

Her attorneys had expected her to raise the money by signing a new recording contract by the fall of 2012, but she did not, Reuters reported. She hasn't released any albums since 2001.

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"This is not someone who stands before the court penniless," said U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo. "This is a criminal matter. Actions speak louder than words, and there has been no effort here to pay these taxes."

Hill appeared in court but said nothing. The sentencing was rescheduled for May 6.

Her attorney, Nathan Hochman, said he would seek a sentence of probation sentence for the mother of six and planned to have her sign off on a loan against two properties so she could pay the remainder of the restitution.

"I fully expect that by May 3 Ms. Hill will be able to pay back all the restitution she has," he said.

The singer reportedly also faces eviction from the New Jersey mansion she had been renting since 2009. She stopped paying rent last month, TMZ reported, and the landlord is seeking to have her removed from the property. 

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Nardine Saad

Follow Ministry of Gossip @LATcelebs.

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