Grammy Award-winning singer Lauryn Hill was given a two-week reprieve on her sentencing for federal tax evasion on Monday as a federal judge admonished her defense counsel for failing to come up with most of the tax money promised prior to her scheduled hearing.
Hill, a solo artist and a member of the Fugees rap trio, pleaded guilty in June 2012 to failure to file federal tax returns from 2005-2007, when she earned $1.8 million. She faces up to a year in prison for each charge.
Lawyers for Hill, who burst to stardom with her 1998 album the "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," said they made a $50,000 payment toward the back taxes and penalties, but still need to come up with another $504,000 no later than May 3.
They had expected Hill to raise money from signing a new recording contract by the fall of 2012, but Hill was unable to complete the recording sessions. She has not released an album since 2001.
Hill, a mother of six children, including five with Rohan Marley, the son of reggae legend Bob Marley, claimed she failed to pay the taxes while she was sheltering her family to get away from excessive publicity and threats.
Attorney Nathan Hochman, representing Hill, said the singer had lined up a deal with a "hard money lender" for a loan that was secured by two real estate assets, and that she was expecting final approval of the loan sometime this week.
"For Miss Hill, the only question was when she was going to pay those taxes, not if," Hochman told reporters after the hearing.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo rescheduled the final sentencing hearing until May 6, but warned lawyers for the hip hop star that the court would not allow another slip up.
"This is not someone who stands before the court penniless," Arleo told the court.