It's funny how money changes situations.
The sentencing for Lauryn Hill's tax evasion was postponed on Monday but not before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo dealt Hill some harsh words for having to rely on her recently inked deal with Sony Music, worth a reported $1 million, to pay back what she owes. "This is not someone who stands before the court penniless," Arleo said to Hill's attorney, Nathan Hochman. "This is a criminal matter. Actions speak louder than words, and there has been no effort here to pay these taxes."
Last year, Hill pleaded guilty to not paying federal taxes on $1.8 million earned from 2005-2007. When the plea was entered, Hill's attorney said his client would have the full amount paid back to the IRS by the time of the hearing. In court on Monday, Hill was found to have only paid back $50,000 of a total of $554,000. Judge Arleo granted Hill until May 6th to finish paying the restitution. However, the amount that Hill owes is in dispute. Hochman claims that the U.S. attorney's estimate of a little over $1 million is an attempt to garner a harsher sentencing as a restitution surpassing that amount increases the sentencing range from 24 to 30 months to 30 to 36 months.
After the hearing, Hochman told reporters that Hill was soon to take out a loan against two of her properties in order to make the payments. By doing so, Hochman was confident that his client would walk free, "I fully expect that by May 3 Ms. Hill will be able to pay back all the restitution she has." Either way, the 8-time Grammy winner is in a less than desirable situation.
Hill has been reclusive since her much publicized walking-away from music roughly 10 years ago. Her last album was 2002's MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 and although she went on tour last year, it failed to generate as much revenue as she had wished.