If "Pain Is Love" as Ja Rule puts it, he must be feeling like it's Valentine's Day.
The hip-hopster, who's currently serving two years in the Big House on a weapons conviction, has been sentenced to 28 months in a federal prison for tax evasion.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz handed down the jail term stemming from Ja Rule's guilty plea in March to three counts of failing to file tax returns with the IRS for a whopping five years from 2004 to 2008.
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"Taxpayers do not have the luxury of deciding whether to comply with laws," the judge said in admonishing him.
The total lost to Uncle Sam's coffers amounts to $1.1 million, most of that taxes never collected on music royalty income from the rapper's company ASJA Inc. and music tour and live performance-related profits from Rule Tours Inc., according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey.
For his part Rule, real name Jeffrey Atkins, stood before Her Honor in a bright-yellow prison-issued jumpsuit and expressed remorse for what he did.
"I want to say I'm sorry," the New Jersey Star-Ledger quoted him as telling the court. "I in no way attempted to deceive the government."
He added, "I was a young man who made a lot of money...I didn't actually know how to deal with these finances [and] I didn't have the best people guide me."
On the bright side, Shwartz allowed Ja Rule to serve the sentences concurrently, meaning he'll likely be released from the slammer four months after his jail term on the unrelated gun charge ends. The judge also sentenced the 35-year-old MC to one year of supervised release.
All of this, however, is on the proviso that he file "true and accurate" tax returns and pay the government back all taxes and penalties owed for those missing years.
"I made mistakes," Ja admitted. "Things kind of spun out of control."
An attorney for the hitmaker, Stacey Richman, was unavailable for comment. But during today's hearing, she said Atkins does not have the necessary "financial savvy" to oversee his business and make sure he has enough money to pay his taxes.