Celebrity Jeweler Pleads Not Guilty to Money Laundering Charges

The man known throughout the hip-hop world as Jacob the Jeweler pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges Wednesday, weeks after his New York arrest.

Yakov Arabov, also known as Jacob Arabo, was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Virginia M. Morgan, who continued his bond at $100,000.

Arabov, 41, was arrested June 15 at his Manhattan store on a warrant issued in Detroit by federal authorities, who accused him of conspiring with others to launder money in connection with a jewelry business.

Authorities say the 16 people indicted for conspiracy and laundering are connected to a drug organization called the Black Mafia Family. The gang dealt cocaine in the Detroit metropolitan area beginning in the early 1990s, extending across the country.

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 Combs, Kanye West, Madonna and Sir Elton John have worn his gem-encrusted jewelry.