‘Jacob the Jeweler’ Pleads Guilty

Celebrity jeweler Jacob Arabov of New York pleaded guilty Wednesday to falsifying records and giving false statements to investigators looking into a multistate drug ring, The Associated Press reports.

Arabov of Jacob & Co., a New York-based jewelry company, will serve up to 46 months in prison and pay a $2 million penalty, U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy said in a news release. No sentencing date was immediately set by U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn, the AP reports.

In return for the guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop money laundering charges against the man known in the hip-hop world as “Jacob the Jeweler,” Arabov’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, reportedly said.

“I realize I have made a terrible mistake and I accept the consequences of my actions,” Arabov reportedly said in a news release issued through Brafman.

Arabov, 42, was arrested in June 2006 at his Manhattan jewelry shop. Authorities accused him and others of conspiring to launder about $270 million in drug profits for the “Black Mafia Family,” a ring that operated out of the Detroit area beginning in the early 1990s.

The seven-year investigation resulted in the indictments of Arabov and 41 other people, Murphy’s office said. Twenty-eight have pleaded guilty, eight are scheduled for trial Nov. 19 and the whereabouts of six others are unknown.

Federal authorities have said about 1,100 pounds of cocaine and $19 million in cash and other assets were seized beginning in 2000.

Arabov, a Russian immigrant, became popular among hip-hop and R&B artists in the mid-1990s after he attracted the attention of Notorious B.I.G., according to the Jacob & Co. Web site. Sean “Diddy” Combs, Kanye West, Madonna and Sir Elton John have all worn his gem-encrusted jewels and watches.

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