Watch CBSN Live

Ja Rule gets 28 months for tax evasion

Rapper Ja Rule
In this March 2, 2010 file photo, rapper Ja Rule attends the premiere of "Brooklyn's Finest" in New York. AP

(CBS/AP) NEWARK, N.J. - The taxman has caught up with jailed rapper Ja Rule, who was sentenced in federal court in New Jersey on Monday to 28 months in prison for failing to pay more than $1 million in taxes.

Pictures: Stars with Tax Woes
Pictures: Stars Behind Bars

The 35-year-old hip-hop singer and actor, who is already serving a two-year jail sentence on a weapons conviction in New York, told the court a combination of youthful inexperience, bad advice and an inability to manage fame and fortune lead to his financial troubles.

"I in no way attempted to deceive the government or do anything illegal," he said, minutes before being sentenced. "I was a young man who made a lot of money - I'm getting a little choked up - I didn't know how to deal with these finances, and I didn't have people to guide me, so I made mistakes.''

The rapper, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, admitted in March that he failed to pay taxes on more than $3 million that he earned between 2004 and 2006 while living in Saddle River, N.J. The father of three, married to his high-school sweetheart, appeared in court Monday in a yellow prison jumpsuit and manacles.

U.S. Magistrate Patty Shwartz ruled that the majority of the rapper's 28-month federal sentence could be served at the same time as the New York state prison sentence. The federal time will be served at the Oneida Correctional Facility in upstate New York, where he is serving the state sentence.

He has also been ordered to pay $1.1 million in unpaid taxes.

Ja Rule first emerged as a hardcore rapper in the late 1990s but then became known for his collaborations with female pop singers, including Jennifer Lopez and Ashanti. He scored a best rap album Grammy Award nomination in 2002 with "Pain is Love" and has sold nearly 20 million albums during his career.

He also has appeared in more than a dozen movies, including the 2001 film "The Fast and the Furious" and 2003's "Scary Movie 3."

View CBS News In