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Nation/World

July 9, 2013

Singer starts prison sentence for taxes

DANBURY, Conn. — Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill began serving a three-month prison sentence in Connecticut on Monday for failing to pay about $1 million in taxes over the past decade.

Hill reported to federal prison in Danbury, said Ed Ross, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons. Inmates at the minimum security prison live in open dormitory-style living quarters and are expected to work jobs such as maintenance, food service or landscaping.

Hill, who started singing with the Fugees as a teenager in the 1990s before releasing her multiplatinum 1998 album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” pleaded guilty last year in New Jersey to failing to pay taxes on more than $1.8 million earned from 2005 to 2007. Her sentencing also took into account unpaid state and federal taxes in 2008 and 2009 that brought the total earnings to about $2.3 million.

Her attorney had sought probation, arguing that Hill’s charitable works, her family circumstances and the fact she paid back the taxes she owed should merit consideration.

During her sentencing in May in Newark, N.J., Hill described how she failed to pay taxes during a period when she’d dropped out of the music business to protect herself and her children, who now number six. She said the treatment she received while she was in the entertainment business led to her decision to leave it.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Moser acknowledged Hill’s creative talent and work on behalf of impoverished children but called Hill’s explanation for her actions “a parade of excuses centering around her feeling put upon” that don’t exempt her from her responsibilities.

After she is released from prison, she will be under parole supervision for a year, the first three months of which will be spent under home confinement.

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