Rap impresario and New Jersey native Lauryn Hill began a three-month stint at a
federal prison camp for women in Connecticut, officials announced on Monday.
Hill, 38, pleaded guilty last year to not paying taxes on more than $1.8 million she earned through various albums, performances and other venues between 2005 and 2007. Additionally, she failed to pay federal and state taxes in 2008 and 2009, bringing her total outstanding balance to over $2.3 million, according to court records.
Attorneys for the Grammy Award-winning singer had argued that the singer should be spared any jail time due to problematic family situations-Hill has six children-and her extensive charitable works in the past. Hill claimed she neglected to pay taxes at least in part because she had dropped out of the music and recording industry for a period of several years due to the stress and alleged mistreatment she received while in the business. Hill has since repaid some of the outstanding debt.
While acknowledging Hill's extensive creative work and community activism with urban youth, prosecutors said the singer presented "a parade of excuses" that doesn't exempt her from financial responsibilities. The judge agreed and ordered Hill to serve at least 90 days at a federal prison camp in Danbury. The facility was the home of one of the most famous tax cheats, the late New York hotelier and real estate queen Leona Helmsley. Helmsley spent 18 months at the prison during the early 1990s for failing to pay $1.7 million in taxes.
By GLENN TOWNES
Special to the AmNews
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