By Sean Gardiner and Sharon Adarlo | The Wall Street Journal – 9 hours ago
- View PhotoKevin Winter/Getty Images – Singer Lauryn Hill performs at L.A. Rising at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum
Grammy Award-winning musician Lauryn Hill, who rose to fame with 1990s hip-hop trio the Fugees, was charged Thursday with failing to pay federal taxes on more than $1.8 million she earned over three years.
The 37-year-old singer, of South Orange, N.J., didn’t file returns or pay taxes from 2005 to 2007, according to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. Most of her income during that period came from recording and film royalties, court documents said.
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Ms. Hill is scheduled to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge in Newark federal court on June 29. Ms. Hill, her lawyer and her agent didn’t return requests for comment Thursday.
The charges are the latest twist for Ms. Hill, a critical and popular darling who dropped out of the public eye amid reports of erratic behavior and clashes with bandmates. A brief return to the limelight, a Fugees reunion tour in 2005, was cut short by Ms. Hill’s unexplained departure.
She has lived quietly in her native suburban New Jersey town and has six children, including five with Rohan Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley.
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But recently, Ms. Hill began performing again to acclaim. In April she played before a sellout crowd at London’s Indigo2 arena. Last week, she was lauded after an appearance at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan.
Property records show Ms. Hill owns at least two houses in South Orange, both on quiet, tree-lined blocks. One, in a gated development, was bought for $820,000 in February 2011, records show. The other, a sand-colored brick home flanked by a swing set and a pool, was purchased for $430,000 in 1997.
A young woman who answered the door at one of the homes declined to comment. Neighbors said Ms. Hill uses another leased home as a recording studio; a man who answered the door at that address Thursday said Ms. Hill did not live there.
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Ms. Hill was still in high school when she formed the Fugees with Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel. She also was pursuing an acting career, appearing in the soap opera “As the World Turns” and in movies such as “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.”
A 1994 debut album was well-received, but it was 1996’s “The Score” that shot the Fugees to the top of the charts, much of it on the strength of Ms. Hill’s vocals on a cover of the 1970s hit “Killing Me Softly With His Song.”
Ms. Hill followed with a solo album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” which earned five Grammy Awards in 1999, including Album of the Year. In 2001, she released a second solo album. It sold less than 500,000 copies.
4 thoughts on “FUGEES STAR CHARGED WITH TAX EVASION”
There’s price to pay if you want to live in America.
READ THIS FOR A FEW LAUGHS:
Lauryn Hill speaks out on tax evasion charge, claims she went ‘underground’ for her family’s ‘safety and survival’ but intended to pay IRS
The singer said she ‘abandoned greed, corruption, and compromise’, but ‘never the artistic gifts and abilities that sustained me’
By Nancy Dillon / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, June 8, 2012, 5:11 PM
NEW ORLEANS, LA – MAY 07: Musician, producer and actress Ms. Lauryn Hill performs during day 6 of the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the Fair Grounds Race Course on May 7, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Skip Bolen/WireImage)
Lauryn Hill performs during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May 2011.
Lauryn Hill was a fugitive fleeing a “media-controlled military industrial complex” when she failed to pay her taxes for three years, the singer said in a lengthy statement Friday.
The Grammy winner accused of stiffing the IRS said she deliberately took her family “underground” for several years for their “safety and survival” but intended to pay Uncle Sam when she resurfaced.
“I did not deliberately abandon my fans, nor did I deliberately abandon any responsibilities, but I did however put my safety, health and freedom and the freedom, safety and health of my family first over all other material concerns!” she wrote in an impassioned 1,200-word manifesto posted on her blog.
“I also embraced my right to resist a system intentionally opposing my right to whole and integral survival,” she continued.
She said she tried to convey her views when questioned by federal authorities about her missing tax returns for calendar years 2005, 2006 and 2007, but they chose to prosecute instead.
The U.S. Attorney filed a criminal case Thursday saying the famous South Orange, N.J., resident earned more than $1.8 million during the missing years with most of her income coming from recording and film industry royalties.
“Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments, as authorities, who despite being told all of this, still chose to pursue action against me, as opposed to finding an alternative solution,” she wrote.
“My intention has always been to get this situation rectified,” she claimed. “When I was working, and when I was making substantial amounts of money, I always filed and paid my taxes. This only stopped, when it was necessary to withdraw from society, in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of myself and my family.”
She said she’s still working to resolve the issue so she can get back to her creative endeavors.
“To those supporters who were told that I abandoned them, that is untrue. I abandoned greed, corruption, and compromise, never you, and never the artistic gifts and abilities that sustained me,” she wrote.
If convicted, she could face up to a year in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
Hill rose to worldwide fame as a member of The Fugees with Wyclef Jean.
The group’s Grammy-winning 1996 album “The Score” included the smash hit singles “Ready or Not,” “No Woman, No Cry,” and “Killing Me Softly.”
She began her solo career in 1998 with the critically acclaimed album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” but quickly dropped out of the spotlight.
The mother of six has five children with Rohan Marley, a son of reggae superstar Bob Marley.
Hill is due to appear on the charges on June 29.
She made headlines earlier this week when she stepped into a feud involving Nicki Minaj and Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg.
Hill used Twitter to support Minaj’s decision to cancel her Sunday performance at Hot 97’s Summer Jam concert in New Jersey because she felt disrespected.
“We have to find a better way to commercially exploit music, while giving artists their proper respect,” Hill tweeted.
One earns “disrespect” and this embarrassment to the Haitian nation has earned the title.
And while she was in hiding from the bad folks she was in public making millions. She is going to lose big and we have Wyclef being investigated for money laundering with a drug smuggler. The Fugees are real showcases for Haiti values.
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