Television personality Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino and his brother, Marc Sorrentino, both admitted today to violating federal tax laws, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito, District of New Jersey; Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division; and IRS Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen announced.
Michael Sorrentino, 36, pleaded guilty to Count 13 of the superseding indictment, which charges him with tax evasion. Marc Sorrentino, 38, pleaded guilty to Count 5, which charges him with aiding in the preparation of a false and fraudulent tax return. The brothers entered their guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court.
“What the defendants admitted to today, quite simply, is tantamount to stealing money from their fellow taxpayers,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “All of us are required by law to pay our fair share of taxes. Celebrity status does not provide a free pass from this obligation.”
“As we approach this year’s filing season, today’s guilty pleas should serve as a stark reminder to those who would attempt to defraud our nation’s tax system,” Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, said. “No matter what your stature is in our society, everyone is expected to play by the rules, and those who do not will be held accountable and brought to justice.”
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Michael Sorrentino was a reality television personality who gained fame on “The Jersey Shore,” which first appeared on the MTV network. He and his brother, Marc, created businesses, such as MPS Entertainment LLC and Situation Nation Inc., to take advantage of Michael’s celebrity status.
Michael Sorrentino admitted that in tax year 2011, he earned taxable income, including some that was paid in cash, and that he took certain actions to conceal some of his income to avoid paying the full amount of taxes he owed. He made cash deposits into bank accounts in amounts less than $10,000 each so that these deposits would not come to the attention of the IRS.
Marc Sorrentino admitted that during tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012, he earned taxable income and that he assisted his accountants in preparing his personal tax return for those years, willfully providing them with false information. His personal tax returns under-reported his total income and taxable income.
The tax evasion charge to which Michael Sorrentino pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The charge of aiding in the preparation of false and fraudulent tax return to which Marc Sorrentino pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison. Both charges are punishable by a potential $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for April 25, 2018.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito and Principal Deputy Attorney General Zuckerman credited special agents of the IRS, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan W. Romankow of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark; Trial Attorneys Yael T. Epstein and Jeffrey B. Bender of the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.