Fashion jewelry icon known in the hip-hop world as “Jacob the Jeweler” was sentenced Tuesday to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for lying to investigators looking into a multistate drug ring, The Associated Press reports.
Jacob Arabov, 43, pleaded guilty in October 2007 to falsifying records and giving false statements as part of a deal with federal prosecutors. During his plea, he asked U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn to impose a minimum sentence of three years and one month.
But Cohn decided to reduce that recommendation by seven months, citing Arabov’s extensive charity work, the AP reports.
Cohn also ordered Arabov to pay a $50,000 fine and to make a $2 million forfeiture payment to the government, the AP reports.
“I feel ashamed that I broke the laws of this country, a country that has been so good for me,” Arabov reportedly said. “I will carry this shame for the rest of my life.”
Arabov, 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.
Prosecutors dropped the money laundering charges in the plea deal.
Arabov will report to prison Jan. 15.
The seven-year investigation resulted in the indictments of Arabov and 41 other people, At least 28 have pleaded guilty.
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.