05/06/2013 at 05:00 PM EDT
Lauryn Hill was sentenced Monday to three months in prison and an additional three months in home confinement for failing to pay taxes on about $1 million in earnings.
The Grammy-winning singer, a South Orange, N.J., resident, pleaded guilty last year in the case.
During a forceful statement to the judge Monday, Hill, 37, explained she had always meant to eventually pay the taxes but was unable to during a period of time when she dropped out of the music business, echoing a defense she wrote last year in a long post online.
"I needed to be able to earn so I could pay my taxes, without compromising the health and welfare of my children, and I was being denied that," Hill said Monday, without explaining what exactly triggered her actions.
Before the sentencing, her attorney had said Hill had paid more than $970,000 to satisfy the state and federal tax liabilities.
Hill had faced a maximum sentence of one year each on three counts. Her attorney had sought probation.
It's not clear when or where she'd report to prison.
Hill got her start with The Fugees and began her solo career in 1998 with the critically acclaimed album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
She then largely disappeared from public view
to raise her six children, five of whom she had
with Rohan Marley, the son of reggae singer Bob Marley.
Hill hadn't paid taxes since she withdrew from society, but says that she always intended to rectify the situation.