Longtime Baton Rouge restaurateur Jamal M. Roman was sentenced Thursday to more than four years in federal prison for defrauding state and local governments of $726,476 in sales taxes.

Roman admitted that he funneled $700,000 of that money to Syria.

U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. said in a written statement: “Roman and his confederates conducted this scheme by bribing and attempting to bribe public officials to conceal millions of dollars in sales from his restaurants.

“His sentence is entirely appropriate when weighed against the magnitude of his crimes,” Cazayoux added.

Roman admitted he concealed $7 million in combined sales from May 2001 until March 2006 at Papacito’s Restaurant in Prairieville and four Baton Rouge businesses.

The Baton Rouge eateries were Roman’s Café on Perkins Road, Roman’s Mediterranean Restaurant on Airline Highway, Roman’s Lebanese Greek Market on Government Street, and Papacito’s Restaurant on Bluebonnet Boulevard.

U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson sentenced Roman to 53 months in federal prison. Jackson also ordered Roman to pay restitution of $726,476 to state and local taxing agencies.

The judge also fined Roman an additional $20,000.