Situation’s dilemma deepens – Sorrentinos charged with tax evasion, obstruction
Charged with tax fraud two and a half years ago, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and his brother Marc are now also accused of evading taxes, maneuvering past currency transaction reports and falsifying documents to thwart a grand jury investigation.
The superseding federal indictument against Mike and Marc Sorrentino was issued today in Newark, according to Acting New Jersey U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick and Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department's Tax Division. Mike Sorrentino's lawyer says he'll plead not guilty, according to the Associated Press.
Conviction for conspiracy would place both at risk of five years in prison. Each count of aiding the preparation of false tax returns carries a potential three-year sentence on conviction. Mike Sorrentino, if convicted for any count of finance structuring, would risk up to 10 years in prison. Conviction for tax evasion would mean a possible five-year sentence.
Marc Sorrentino's charge of obstruciton carries a possible prison term of up to 20 years on conviction. Both are also subject to supervised release, restitution and financial penalties.
The brothers were indicted for tax violations and conspiracy in September 2014. Arraignment on the superseding indictment is scheduled for April 17 in Newark.
According to authorities, the Sorrentinos earned about $8,900,000 through businesses including MPS Entertainment LLC and Situation Nation Inc., between 2010 and 2012, capitalizing on Mike Sorrentino's celebrity status related to MTV's "Jersey Shore" reality series.
Investigators alleged that the brothers sought to avoid paying the full taxable amount on the income by filing, or directing the filing, of doctored Internal Revenue Service (IRS) returns which understated gross receipts, claimed false business deductions, underreported net business revenues and cloaked income payments to the brothers and to others.
They were also accused of intermingling personal and business accounts, and using business revenue to pay for high-end cars and clothes and other personal items.
In the superseding indictment, Mike Sorrentino is charged with failing to file a personal tax return for 2011, filing a fraudulent business return for Situation Nation, and hiding his cash income.
Prosecutors also allege that Mike completed several cash deposits, each less then $10,000, into several bank accounts under his control, in the span of a day, in an effort to sidestep the requirement of banks to report deposits of that amount or higher to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Marc Sorrentino is accused of falsifying MPS- and Situation Nation-related revenue records before complying with a grand jury subpoena for them, by editing and reclassifying taxable payments to himself as non-taxable payments and business deductions
The charges and allegations contained in the superseding indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.
The government's case is being conducted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan W. Romankow and Tax Division Trial Attorneyes Yael T. Epstein and Jeffrey Bender. Authorities offered no information about legal representation for the Sorrentinos.