Restaurant owner pleads guilty to tax fraud, bribery
BATON ROUGE - The owner of several Baton Rouge-area restaurants has pleaded guilty to cooking his books and keeping hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales taxes, according to the U. S. Attorney's Office.
Jamal Roman entered a guilty plea in district court today to all charges against him including seven counts of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bribery, according to U. S. Attorney Don Cazayoux Jr.
Cazayoux said Roman admitted that between 2000 and 2006 he reported false monthly sales numbers to pay less taxes and bribed auditors to lower the assessments of the value of his businesses until they were eventually removed.
The case is part of an ongoing tax fraud investigation called "Operation Zenith", which Cazayoux says turned up evidence several business owners and the president of an accounting firm under-reported sales taxes by more than $10 million.
Six other people have been convicted as part of Operation Zenith.
Roman owns Mis Padres Restaurant in Prairieville and four restaurants in Baton Rouge, including Roman's Cafe, Roman's Mediterranean Restaurant, Roman's Lebanese Greek Market and Mis Padres Restaurant on Bluebonnet.
When Roman is sentenced he'll face up to 175 years in prison and a fine of $2,750,000, and will be required to pay restitution to his victims.