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The good news for rapper Ja Rule today? He is officially out of an Upstate New York prison after serving most of his two-year sentence for gun possession.

The bad news? He headed straight into federal custody in a tax case.

U.S. Marshals escorted the 36-year-old out of Mid-State Correctional Facility this morning. He is now being held at the Oneida County Jail in central New York.

The rapper, who had been in protective custody because of his celebrity, has some time left on a 28-month sentence for tax evasion that ran concurrently.


Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, may have less than six months left and may be eligible for a halfway house, defense attorney Stacey Richman said.

Back taxes are one of the main reasons he wants to get back to work, too.

“People are looking forward to experiencing his talent again,” she said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Mack said it is being determined where Ja Rule will serve the rest of his time, and how much of the $1.1 million he owes the IRS has been paid.

Once out of custody, he also faces a year of supervised release.

Ja Rule went to prison in Marcy, N.Y., in June 2011, and got out at his earliest possible release date, state correction spokeswoman Linda Foglia said.

He was written up twice for unauthorized phone calls in 2012 but had work assignments on lawn and grounds crews and participated in education programs.

In the gun case, New York City police said they found a loaded .40-caliber semi-automatic gun in a rear door of Ja Rule’s $250,000 luxury car in 2010.

In March 2011 he admitted in federal court that he failed to pay taxes on more than $3 million he earned from 2004-2006 while he lived in Saddle River, N.J.

“I in no way attempted to deceive the government or do anything illegal,” he said.

“I was a young man who made a lot of money … I didn’t know how to deal with these finances, and I didn’t have people to guide me, so I made mistakes.”

Richman said Ja Rule is looking forward to his daughter’s graduation.