Ja Rule Sentenced To 28 Months In Prison Over Tax Returns

Jul 20, 2011, 14:32 by Sarah Long

Rapper Ja Rule was sentenced to 28 months in prison after pleading guilty to failing to file tax returns for three years.

"I in no way attempted to deceive the government or do anything illegal," Ja Rule said minutes before being sentenced in a New Jersey federal court, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. "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 is already serving a 2-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to owning a non-licensed semiautomatic loaded weapon that police found in his car after they pulled him over for speeding.

He also was ordered to pay $1.1 million in back taxes on more than $3 million earned from 2004 through 2006, according to the Los Angeles Times.

His attorney, Stacey Richman, said Ja Rule was a talented high-school dropout who had not had enough business knowledge to handle the onslaught of wealth, the Los Angeles Times reports. In asking the judge for leniency, Ja Rule said he wanted to get back to work as soon as possible.

"My business is very 'out of sight, out of mind,' " Ja Rule told the judge. "The longer I'm away, the longer it'll take me to get back to doing what I need to do to actually pay these taxes."

The Grammy nominee is currently serving the state sentence at Oneida Correctional Facility in upstate New York, and the Los Angeles Times reports that the federal tax sentence can be served at the same time as his current sentence.