Restauranteur sentenced to prison for conspiracy, fraud, and bribery

Restauranteur sentenced to prison for conspiracy, fraud, and bribery

POSTED: Monday, October 17, 2011 - 11:03am

UPDATED: Monday, October 17, 2011 - 11:07am

A local man has been sentenced to prison for his involvement in conspiracy to commit fraud.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson sentenced Jamal M. Roman, age 51, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to
53 months imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment of 2 years, restitution to state and local governments in the amount of $726,476, and a fine of $20,000.

The sentence stems from ROMAN’s conviction on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bribery; seven counts of mail fraud; and three counts of bribery involving a federally-funded entity.

Roman was sentenced for his role in schemes involving sales tax fraud, bribery, and payroll tax fraud. With regard to sales tax fraud, Roman defrauded the State of Louisiana, East Baton Rouge Parish, and Ascension Parish out of approximately $670,000 in sales tax revenue by concealing approximately $7,000,000 in sales from May 2001 until March 2006.

Roman did so by causing fraudulent monthly reports to be submitted concerning the sales at his restaurants, including Mis Padres Restaurant (formerly Papacito’s Restaurant) in Prairieville, Louisiana, and four restaurants in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, including Roman’s Café on Perkins Road, Roman’s Mediterranean Restaurant on Airline Highway, Roman’s Lebanese Greek Market on Government Street, and Mis Padres Restaurant (formerly Papacito’s Restaurant) on Bluebonnet Boulevard (collectively referred to as “the Roman Restaurants”).

This case is part of Operation Zenith, a long-running investigation into fraud and corruption in the collection and payment of sales and payroll taxes. With regard to the sales tax fraud, Operation Zenith uncovered evidence that business owners and the president of an accounting firm had been under-reporting the sales from various businesses by over ten million dollars ($10,000,000) in order to avoid remitting sales tax to the state and local governments.

In an attempt to conceal this massive scheme, the business owners and the accountant paid bribes to officials within the East Baton Rouge Parish Auditor’s Office and agreed to bribe an auditor with the Louisiana Department of Revenue. In addition, the conspiracy count to which Roman pled guilty outlines the funneling of $700,000 to Syria as part of the conspiracy.

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