Jacob Arabov, also known as "Jacob the Jeweler," was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
The purveyor of over-the-top diamond jewelry to clients ranging from the worlds of sports and hip-hop to the Upper East Side and Hollywood through his namesake firm Jacob & Co. will also pay a fine of $2 million in a sentence handed down Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn in Detroit.
Arabov, 42, was arrested on June 15, 2006, at his flagship on East 57th Street in Manhattan on charges of laundering more than $270 million in narcotics proceeds for a Detroit-based drug ring called the Black Mafia Family.
In October 2007, Arabov pleaded guilty to falsifying records and lying to a federal agent in a drug investigation. Arabov could have been sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison if he was convicted at trial.
Arabov started his career in New York's Diamond District and got his big break when Faith Evans, wife of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., told her husband about Arabov. The hip-hop community became infatuated with Arabov, referencing the jeweler in songs and even giving him cameo appearances in their music videos.
In 2004, he acquired a building at 48 East 57th Street, which is the home to his lone store, Jacob & Co. Fans of the 22-year-old brand include Jay-Z, Beyoncé Knowles, Denise Rich, Madonna and Victoria Beckham, all of whom were taken with the company's selection of high-carat diamonds and oversize watches with five time zones.
"Jacob Arabov and his counsel are pleased that Judge Cohn recognized the amazing story of Jacob, who at age 14 emigrated from the former Soviet Union, came to the U.S. with nothing, and yet managed to become one of the most respected, beloved and successful jewelers in the world," said Benjamin Brafman, Arabov's criminal defense lawyer.
Arabov is known for having a presence in his stores, building relationships with clients both famous and not. He has created custom pieces, such as a chess set of pavé gemstones and sold an engagement ring to a man who had yet to find a bride. In 2005, Arabov told WWD that 30 percent of his sales came from personal orders.According to Brafman, Cohn allowed Arabov until Jan. 15 to begin serving his sentence, so he can develop a strategy that allows his firm to continue operating while he is in prison.
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