R&B star Lauryn Hill has addressed charges she owes more than $1.6 million in taxes, insisting she needed the funds to "sustain" her family during a "period of crisis".
Prosecutors in New Jersey have filed three tax counts against the singer amid allegations she failed to file returns for earnings between 2005 and 2007.
Each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine - but defiant Hill has attempted to explain her actions in a long and rambling statement posted on her blog on Friday.
The Doo Wop (That Thing) hitmaker claims she removed herself and her family from society and went "underground" to protect them from various, unidentified "threats", and she had to use her "resources" to "sustain our safety and survival" until the problems were resolved.
Hill suggests she was being mistreated and exploited, and insists there were "no exotic trips, no fleet of cars, just an all out war for safety, integrity, wholeness and health".
She adds, "I conveyed all of this when questioned as to why I did not file taxes during this time period. Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments, as authorities, who despite being told all of this, still chose to pursue action against me, as opposed to finding an alternative solution."
Hill is now working to resolve the situation and get her career back on track, although the star is adamant she has always been one to stay on top of her taxes, and only resorted to skipping the payments when she had no other choice.
She continues, "My intention has always been to get this situation rectified. When I was working consistently without being affected by the interferences mentioned above, I filed and paid my taxes. This only stopped when it was necessary to withdraw from society, in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of myself and my family."
She is scheduled to appear in court to face the charges on June 29.