DETROIT – A Russian-born celebrity jeweler who put diamonds on celebrities from Sir Elton John to Kanye West has pleaded guilty to falsifying records and giving false statements to investigators looking into a multistate drug ring.
Terms of the plea deal call for Jacob Arabov of New York to serve up to 46 months in prison and pay a $2 million penalty, U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy said in a news release Wednesday. No sentencing date was immediately set by U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn.
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," said Arabov's attorney, Benjamin Brafman.
"I realize I have made a terrible mistake and I accept the consequences of my actions," Arabov 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 (500 kilograms) of cocaine and $19 million in cash and other assets were seized beginning in 2000.
Arabov, also known as the "King of Bling," became popular among hip-hop and R&B artists in the mid-1990s.