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Elton John World News: Elton's Jeweler Faces Legal Troubles

Elton's Jeweler Faces Legal Troubles-- Posted by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday 16 June 2006 @ 16:32 - GMT

A man who has created diamond pieces for names like Kanye West and Elton was arrested yesterday.

Jacob and Co. founder Jacob Arabo was indicted on a federal conspiracy charge stemming from a drug and money laundering case in Detroit.

The 41-year-old was among sixteen people named in a 13-count indictment announced by U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy. Arabo was specifically charged with just one count: "conspiracy to launder monetary instruments," according to court papers released by the U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Michigan.

Paul Wilmot of Paul Wilmot Communications in New York, a spokesman for Jacob and Co., confirmed Arabo's arrest but maintained his innocence. He issued the following statement on behalf of the jeweler:

"The arrest is the result of an unfortunate misunderstanding that we believe will be straightened out in the next several weeks. We are confident that once the government is advised of all the facts surrounding these issues that all of the charges against Mr. Arabo will be completely dismissed."

The indictment accuses the jeweler of helping members of the "Black Mafia Family" (BMF) launder cash that it made selling drugs throughout the country during the1990s. Authorities believe the BMF sold more than 476 kilograms of cocaine and laundered more than $270 million.

The indictment says that BMF ringleaders Terry Lee Flenory and Demetrius Flenory purchased jewelry through Arabo with drug proceeds, but that Arabo failed to file Forms 8300, federal forms required for cash payments exceeding $10,000.

The indictment further states that Arabov sold jewelry to people representing the Flenory brothers and filled out Forms 8300 with the names of the representatives, although he knew the money originated from the Flenory brothers, according to court papers.

The indictment seeks the forfeiture of more than 30 pieces of jewelry, including several designed by Jacob & Co., not to mention 13 houses, 30 cars and $1.2 million in currency.