Lauryn Hill Sentencing Delayed for Failure to File Taxes

Lauryn N. Hill, the Grammy-winning singer who admitted failing to pay three years of income tax, was granted an adjournment of her sentencing so that she can make a criminal restitution payment of $504,000.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline C. Arleo in Newark, New Jersey, postponed the hearing today until May 6 after expressing her displeasure with Hill’s failure to keep her promise to make the payment before her sentencing.

“Actions should speak louder than words, and there’s never been any effort made here to pay the taxes,” Arleo said. “I can’t tell you how strongly I feel about this issue.”

Hill’s attorney Nathan Hochman promised that Hill will make the payment by May 3, and that she is arranging $650,000 in real-estate loans. Hochman has asked the judge to sentence Hill to probation, saying she cares for six children and has a long record of charitable contributions.

Related story: What to Do When You Can't Pay Your Taxes

Hill, 37, pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts on June 29, admitting that she failed to file tax returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The singer won two Grammy awards in 1996 as a member of the Fugees. Her album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” was named album of the year at the 1999 Grammy Awards. She also won awards then for best new artist, best rhythm and blues album, best R&B song and best female R&B vocal performance.

The singer’s primary source of income was royalties from the recording and film industries, and she owned four closely held corporations, prosecutors have said.

Hochman said that she owes just under $1 million in back taxes, fines and penalties, and that she made a $50,000 payment.

Homes, Royalties

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Moser said Hill has almost $3 million in equity in homes and a “constant stream of royalties.” She said Hill has an album contract that would pay her $1 million after delivering five songs and $3 million upon completion of the rest.

Hill lives in South Orange, New Jersey, he said.

The case is U.S. v. Hill, 12-mj-6081, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

To contact the reporter on this story: David Voreacos in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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