the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Newark NJ, Television personality Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino was sentenced today to eight months in prison and his brother, Marc Sorrentino, to 24 months in prison for 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’s Tax Division; and IRS Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur announced.
Michael Sorrentino, 37, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to Count 13 of a superseding indictment, which charged him with tax evasion. Marc Sorrentino, 39, pleaded guilty to Count 5, which charged him with aiding in the preparation of a false and fraudulent tax return. Judge Wigenton imposed the sentences today in Newark federal court.
“The law requires all Americans to pay our fair share of taxes,” U.S. Attorney 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.”
“Lying to and defrauding the federal government is a very serious crime, regardless of a defendant’s celebrity status,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman. “The Sorrentino brothers chose to use Michael’s fame to benefit themselves at the expense of the American taxpayer, and with the help of our federal partners, they were held accountable.”
“Tax crimes, plain and simple, are an outright theft from the hardworking American public,” Special Agent in Charge Tafur, IRS Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, said. “The courts recognize the severity of these crimes and now Michael and Marc Sorrentino are convicted felons with prison sentences to serve for intentionally disregarding their tax obligations to our country.”
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.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Wigenton sentenced Michael Sorrentino to two years of supervised release, 500 hours of community service, $123,000 in restitution (which has already been paid) and fined him $10,000. Marc Sorrentino was sentenced to one year of supervised release, and fined $7,500, with restitution to be determined at a later date.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito and Principal Deputy Attorney General Zuckerman credited special agents of the IRS, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tafur, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencings.
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.