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Singer Hill Charged With Tax-Dodging

Sean Gardiner and Sharon Adarlo

Grammy Award-winning musician Lauryn Hill, who rose to fame with 1990s hip-hop trio the Fugees, was charged Thursday with failing to pay federal taxes on more than $1.8 million she earned over three years.

The 37-year-old singer, of South Orange, N.J., didn't file returns or pay taxes from 2005 to 2007, according to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. Most of her income during that period came from recording and film royalties, court documents said.

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Ms. Hill is scheduled to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge in Newark federal court on June 29. Ms. Hill, her lawyer and her agent didn't return requests for comment Thursday.

The charges are the latest twist for Ms. Hill, a critical and popular darling who dropped out of the public eye amid reports of erratic behavior and clashes with bandmates. A brief return to the limelight, a Fugees reunion tour in 2005, was cut short by Ms. Hill's unexplained departure.

She has lived quietly in her native suburban New Jersey town and has six children, including five with Rohan Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley.

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But recently, Ms. Hill began performing again to acclaim. In April she played before a sellout crowd at London's Indigo2 arena. Last week, she was lauded after an appearance at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan.

Property records show Ms. Hill owns at least two houses in South Orange, both on quiet, tree-lined blocks. One, in a gated development, was bought for $820,000 in February 2011, records show. The other, a sand-colored brick home flanked by a swing set and a pool, was purchased for $430,000 in 1997.

A young woman who answered the door at one of the homes declined to comment. Neighbors said Ms. Hill uses another leased home as a recording studio; a man who answered the door at that address Thursday said Ms. Hill did not live there.

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Ms. Hill was still in high school when she formed the Fugees with Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel. She also was pursuing an acting career, appearing in the soap opera "As the World Turns" and in movies such as "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit."

A 1994 debut album was well-received, but it was 1996's "The Score" that shot the Fugees to the top of the charts, much of it on the strength of Ms. Hill's vocals on a cover of the 1970s hit "Killing Me Softly With His Song."

Ms. Hill followed with a solo album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," which earned five Grammy Awards in 1999, including Album of the Year. In 2001, she released a second solo album. It sold less than 500,000 copies.

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