Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, of MTV’s Jersey Shore fame, is facing up to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to felony tax evasion, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday.
Marc Sorrentino, brother of The Situation, also pleaded guilty to “aiding in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return” and will face a maximum of three years. Five and three years are statutory maximum sentences; both men are likely to receive much less severe penalties.
The charges against the Sorrentinos stem from the concealment of cash receipts from businesses the brothers set up to monetize The Situation’s fame. The bothers were alleged to have failed to report potentially millions of dollars of receipts, knowingly failing to file tax returns, and filing false tax returns and strategically depositing the cash to avoid oversight.
“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 of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division’s Newark Field Office, said in the DOJ press release accompanying the pleas. “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.”
“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,” the U.S. attorney supervising the prosecution, Craig Carpenito of the District of New Jersey, added.
Their accountant, Gregg Mark, already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government in 2015.
The plea agreement, which saw the brothers plead guilty to one felony charge each, avoided the much more serious charges detailed in the their 14-count indictment, including currency structuring (continually making deposits under $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements) and conspiracy.
The Sorrentinos are scheduled to be sentenced April 25 before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton.