A longtime Baton Rouge restaurateur has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for defrauding state and local governments of $726,476 in sales taxes.

51-year-old Jamal M. Roman admitted he funneled $700,000 of that money to Syria.

The naturalized U.S. citizen apologized to Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson Thursday for his actions.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson said Roman repaid his adopted country by bribing tax auditors, filing false sales tax records and maintaining fictitious payroll records to covertly build a fortune and ship it overseas.

The judge sentenced Roman to 53 months in federal prison and two years of post-prison supervision by federal investigators.