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Rapper Ja Rule gets 28 months in federal prison

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Already doing state time for gun possession, rapper Ja Rule today was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison by a judge in Newark for ducking taxes on $4.38 million in income.

Jeffrey “Ja Rule” Atkins

The 35-year-old Grammy-nominated singer — whose real name is Jeffrey Bruce Atkins — began a state stretch in June in an upstate New York prison that should come out to no more than 20 months for hiding a semi-automatic handgun in his car as he headed to his Saddle River home after a Beacon Theater concert.

The federal term will run concurrently, meaning he’ll be imprisoned for 28 months.

He pleaded guilty to the federal tax deal in March under an agreement with the government that he make good on what he owes Uncle Sam — more than $1 million. Atkins skipped federal income taxes on nearly $4.4 million in royalties and live performance payments over five periods.

“Each of us must pay our fair share to keep this country moving,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

The publicity surrounding Atkins’s misdeeds was thought to help move copies of his latest album, “Pain is Love 2.” But delays — due to what was considered inferior work — followed and there’s no telling no when a final copy will drop.

That makes an even 10 years since the former Murder Inc. rapper released an album, one that went triple-platinum.

All told, Atkins — the sole shareholder of ASJA Inc. and Rule Tours Inc — admitted that he collected royalties from one and tour payments from another from 2004 through 2008. The first year he made roughly $1 million, followed by a breakout 2005, in which earned $1.59 million, court records show.

His career’s been on the downslide ever since. Rule’s earnings took a hit in 2006, to $760,000, followed by $540,000 in 2007, before bottoming out at $490,000 the following year.

Atkins says he planned to write a book, get his GED and maybe even learn to play an instrument behind bars.

Fishman credited special agents with the IRS Criminal Investigation unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Mack of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark brokered the plea agreement.

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