YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Singer and actress Lauryn Hill was charged today with failing to file three years of income tax returns with the IRS on more than $1.6 million of income.
A complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Newark charges Hill, who’s been living in South Orange, with not paying taxes for calendar years 2005, 2006, and 2007.
The onetime Fugees member, who turns 36 in two weeks, has a federal court date scheduled in Newark on June 29.
According to the complaint, Hill owns and operates four corporations in addition to
being an entertainer:
Creations Music, Inc.,
Boogie Tours, Inc.,
L.H. Productions 2001, Inc.
Studio 22, Inc.
Hill’s net worth has been reported at more than $8.7 million from her record sales, tours and investments in Jamaica.
Her primary source of income, federal prosecutors in Newark said, are royalties from the recording and film industries.
The government alleges that Hill ducked taxes on $818,000 she made in 2005, $222,000 in 2006 and $761,000 in 2007.
Hill first came to audience’s attention with the Fugees. Then, in 1998, she released the blockbuster solo album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” which earned five Grammy Awards, including the prestigious Album of the Year and Best New Artist.
But fame turned her away from public performing. After four years out of the spotlight, she did an MTV “Unplugged” gig that produced the live album “No. 2.0.”
Michelle Obama told the BBC that she frequently listens to Hill’s music on her iPod, and Sen. John McCain’s daughter, Meghan, once told an interviewer that he dad listens to her: “I borrowed his car once in D.C., and I was looking through [his] CDs, and I was like, ‘Oh, Lauryn Hill.’”
Hill has done soundtrack recordings and mixtapes, while performing here and there at festivals, in recent years.
Hill, who moved back in with her mother and children in South Orange, has five children, five of them with one of reggae great Bob Marley’s sons, Rohan.
The maximum penalty under a conviction is up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Hill would also have to make good on the back taxes.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited special agents with IRS-Criminal Investigation with the work leading to the charges. The case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra L. Moser of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.