The corrupt former city-parish tax auditor was sentenced to four months in a halfway house and two years of probation for taking bribes. The restaurant owner who offered another auditor a weekend trip to Costa Rica and a hotel stay with four prostitutes was sent to prison for 33 months, followed by two years of post-prison federal supervision.
And that closed the books on a six-year investigation of seven men who admitted they defrauded state and local government agencies in East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes of more than $1.2 million in sales and payroll taxes.
Jerome R. Shore, 57, of Baton Rouge, was the city-parish auditor whose career ended after he, five prominent businessmen and the president of an accounting firm were indicted in 2006.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson said Thursday that Shore faced harsher penalties if he had not cooperated after his indictment was obtained and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Corey R. Amundson, Alan A. Stevens and Reginald E. Jones.
In addition to the stay at the halfway house, the judge ordered Shore to pay restitution of $60,000 to East Baton Rouge Parish for his role in the fraudulent scheme.
Rostom H. Laymon, 53, of Baton Rouge, learned Thursday that his 33-month prison term was accompanied by Jackson’s order to pay $140,000 in restitution for sales taxes that were never paid to state and local governments in East Baton Rouge Parish.
The judge also imposed a fine of $70,000 on Laymon, who once operated Arzi’s Express in the Mall of Louisiana, Cajun Cafe in the same mall, and Arzi’s Express on Government Street.
Laymon was snared by federal investigators after he offered “$800 in cash, a weekend trip to Costa Rica, hotel accommodations and the cost of two prostitutes per day” to a city-parish auditor. That auditor, however, was undercover FBI Special Agent Brian Tinney, who was investigating Laymon.
U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. said Thursday the long-term investigation is at an end.
Five other men were prosecuted earlier.
Longtime Baton Rouge restaurateur Jamal M. Roman was sentenced last year to 53 months in federal prison after he admitted owing $726,476 in sales and payroll taxes to state and local agencies in Baton Rouge and Prairieville.
In Baton Rouge, Roman owned Papacito’s Restaurant on Bluebonnet Boulevard, Roman’s Cafe on Perkins Road, Roman’s Mediterranean Restaurant on Airline Highway and Roman’s Lebanese Greek Market on Government Street.
Roman, who admitted he funneled $700,000 of his cash to Syria, also owned Papacito’s Restaurant in Prairieville.
Jackson ordered Roman to repay all of the $726,476. The judge also fined Roman $20,000 and ordered him to serve two years of post-prison federal supervision.
Former Baton Rouge businessman Humam S. Al-Alousi, 58, was sentenced in 2008 to five years in federal prison, fined $100,000 and ordered to pay $220,401 in restitution to tax authorities.
Al-Alousi owned Side Stop, a convenience store on Florida Boulevard, and General Goods of Louisiana, a wholesale food distributor on Greenwell Springs Road.
Former Baton Rouge accountant Hassan Abousoayd, 62, helped Roman bribe Shore. Abousoayd pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and use of a telephone in aid of racketeering. He was sentenced to eight months of home confinement and three years of probation.
Jackson also ordered Abousoayd to pay restitution of $134,000 and a fine of $20,000.
Khoa Dinh Chau, 42, owned Lee’s Grocery on Foster Drive and Weller’s Grocery on Weller Avenue. Chau pleaded guilty to mail fraud and bribery charges and was sentenced in 2009 to a three-year prison term, fined $30,000 and ordered to pay restitution of $98,695.
Mohamed H. Ruman, 38-year-old nephew of Roman, worked at several of his uncle’s restaurants.
Ruman admitted he helped underreport taxable payrolls to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. He was sentenced last year to four months in federal prison, four months at a halfway house and two years of post-prison supervision. He also was ordered to pay restitution of $56,000.