Former "Jersey Shore" personality Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino was sentenced Friday to eight months in federal prison and his brother, Marc, to two years for ducking taxes on what authorities said was nearly $9 million in income from promotional gigs -- while claiming pricey clothing, high-end cars and personal grooming as business expenses.
Both were scheduled to go to trial late last year but agreed to plea deals from the government instead.
Michael Sorrentino, 37, pleaded guilty in January to tax evasion, while Marc Sorrentino, 39, admitted in U.S. District Court in Newark that he aided in the preparation of a false and fraudulent tax return.
Michael Sorrentino admitted making cash deposits into bank accounts in amounts less than $10,000 each so the IRS wouldn't be notified, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Marc Sorrentino admitted that he "assisted his accountants in preparing his personal tax returns [for 2010-2012], willfully providing them with false information," Carpenito said.
His personal tax returns under-reported his total income and taxable income, the U.S. Attorney added.
“The law requires all Americans to pay our fair share of taxes,” Carpenito said. “These defendants deliberately flouted this requirement, acting as though fame and celebrity status placed them above the law. They are not.
"Tax fraud is as serious as any other form of theft from the government, and the sentences imposed today should make that abundantly clear.”
In addition to the prison terms, U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton sentenced Michael Sorrentino to two years of supervised release, 500 hours of community service and $123,000 in restitution (which has already been paid). She also fined him $10,000.
Marc Sorrentino got one year of supervised release and a $7,500 fine, with restitution to be determined at a later date.
Carpenito and Principal Deputy Attorney General Richard Zuckerman credited special agents of the IRS with the investigation leading to the pleas and sentences.
Handling the case was Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan W. Romankow of Carpenito's Criminal Division in Newark and Trial Attorneys Yael T. Epstein and Jeffrey B. Bender of the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to the original indictment on file in U.S. District Court in Newark:
“The pair conspired to fail to pay all federal income tax owed on approximately $8.9 million earned by Michael Sorrentino between 2010 and 2012. This income was largely received by two companies controlled by the brothers: MPS Entertainment, LLC and Situation Nation, Inc.
“As part of the conspiracy, the brothers submitted or caused to be submitted to the IRS false documents which understated the gross receipts received by the brothers and the two companies. The brothers also submitted false personal tax returns which failed to report all of the income they received, and Michael failed to file a personal tax return in 2011, despite earning $1,995,757 that year.
“As part of the conspiracy, the brothers also fraudulently claimed millions of dollars in personal expenses as business expenses, including payments for high-end vehicles and clothing, personal grooming expenses, and distributions – or direct payments – from the businesses to personal bank accounts.”
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