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Restaurant owner gets 53 months for tax fraud scheme

A Baton Rouge man was recently sentenced to over four years in federal prison for failing to pay $726,476 in sales taxes to the State of Louisiana and the federal government. Sources said that the 51-year-old restaurateur has admitted to sending most of the money to Syria.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson bribed tax auditors, filed fraudulent sales tax records and maintained false payroll records in order to hide his savings and send it back to Syria. In punishment for the fraud scheme, the man will be serving 53 months in federal prison and two years of probation supervised by federal investigators.

Sources said the man-who owns a restaurant in Prairieville and four other businesses in Baton Rouge-admitted that he concealed $7 million in sales profits between May 2001 and March 2006. The Baton Rouge restaurants are roman's CafDe on Perkins road, roman's Mediterranean Restaurant on Airline Highway, roman's Lebanese Greek Market on Government Street. Papacito's Restraurant in on Bluebonnet Boulevard in Prairieville.

In terms of restitution, the judge ordered the convicted man to pay $348,871 to city-parish tax authorizes in Baton Rouge. Another $297,989 will go to the Louisiana Department of Revenue. To the Louisiana Workforce Commission will go $56,000, and another $23,616 will go to tax authorities in Ascension Parish. In addition to the restitution, the man received a fine of $20,000.

The man, a naturalized U.S. citizen, reportedly apologized for his actions, for "dishonoring this country." He was ordered to report to federal prison on November 14.

Source: wwltv.com, "B.R. restaurateur gets 4 years for tax fraud," October 14, 2011.

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