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Lauryn Hill sentenced to three months in prison for tax evasion

GLENN TOWNES Special to the AmNews | 6/6/2013, 11:32 a.m.
Lauryn Hill performs live at the Foote Green University of Miami. Miami, Florida - 05.11.10 Mandatory Credit: Johnny Louis/WENN.com

Rap diva and New Jersey native Lauryn Hill was sentenced to three months in federal prison on Monday for failing to pay more taxes on nearly $1 million in earnings over the years, a federal magistrate announced in Newark.

In a sobering message to the judge prior to sentencing, Hill, 37, a resident of South Orange, N.J., said she was unable to pay taxes after she dropped out of the music industry for several years. The Grammy Award-winning singer reached the apex of her musical career in the late 1990s and 2000 through 2007 with several smash hits and videos. The original tax bill was $1.8 million, but through a plea deal and some partial payments, the bill was finally dropped to about $970,000.

Nattily dressed in a black jacket, multicolored scarf and pearl earrings with a close-cropped haircut, Hill made no comment to the press as she left the courtroom. However, bloggers on various websites have weighed in on the subject with mixed results. One posted, "I don't think she should go to jail--community service would have been much better ... she has kids, right?"

Another posted, "They seem to give celebs a slap on the wrist when they've got the money to pay!"

Blogger David H. posted, "There are people serving more time for less than what she did. I wonder how much time I'd get for not paying my taxes?!"

It's unclear where Hill will serve her sentence, which begins in July. However, early indications say she will either report to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn., or the Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, W.Va.