After pleading guilty to tax evasion last June, multiple Grammy winner and former Fugee Lauryn Hill is making one last ditch effort to avoid jail time.
In advance of her scheduled sentencing this Monday, April 22, Hill filed legal documents requesting that her sentence be limited to probation, as it would make it easier for her to pay back the bill she owes for the three years—2005, 2006, and 2007—she did not file taxes.
Over those three years, Hill earned a reported $1.8 million, but the documents explain she did not pay the IRS because she “withdrew from society at large due to what she perceived as manipulation and very real threats to herself and her family.”
Hill made similar statements in a blog post when the charges were first brought against her, adding that she had largely disappeared from public view because of the “climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism” in popular culture.
The singer, who first made a name for herself as the soulful voice behind Fugees hits like “Ready or Not” and “Killing Me Softly (With His Song)” and later scored a massive solo victory with her 1998 album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, faces up to three years in prison—one for each year she did not file taxes. (A separate suit filed against her by the state of New Jersey notes that she also owes $446,386 in back taxes to the state.)
Since earning five Grammys and seven platinum plaques for her solo album, Hill has largely been out of the musical spotlight. She has occasionally hit the road for one-off performances (including an ill-fated Fugees reunion a few years back), and was last seen on the road with Nas on the Life Is Good/Black Rage tour last fall. She is also the mother of six children, five of which are by Rohan Marley.