The owner of a Baton Rouge-based health care company was sentenced to four years in federal prison Thursday and ordered to pay nearly $6 million to the federal government for failing to pay several million dollars in employee withholding taxes over a multiyear period.

U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick ordered Charles A. Lanphier, 69, of Lafayette, to begin serving his sentence immediately.

Lanphier pleaded guilty in December to two counts of failing to truthfully account for and forward to the Internal Revenue Service taxes that were withheld from employees’ paychecks. He admitted failing to pay more than $2.5 million in such taxes from 2008 to 2011.

Dick, however, found that Lanphier’s criminal conduct stretched back to 2005 and resulted in a loss of more than $5.9 million to the IRS, U.S. Attorney Walt Green said.

“Honest business owners deserve a level playing field, not one in which the corrupt get rich without consequence,” Green stated. “My hope is that today’s sentence will illustrate the harsh reality awaiting those who defraud the taxpayers.”

Lanphier’s company, Regional Healthcare LLC, operates throughout Louisiana and Florida and provides patient care assistance, home health, pediatric care and hospice services.