Reality TV star Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino and his brother Marc are facing more tax evasion charges in a long-running case.
The U.S. Justice Department’s Tax Division in New Jersey announced the additional charges Friday against the former star of the MTV reality series “Jersey Shore” and his brother. The Sorrentino brothers were originally indicted in September 2014 on charges alleging they failed to pay taxes on $8.9 million in income received from promotional activities (see Gym, tan, laundry and tax: Jersey Shore's ‘The Situation’ charged with failure to pay taxes). Their tax preparer, Gregg Mark, pleaded guilty in December 2015 (see Tax preparer for Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino pleads guilty in tax fraud case).
Friday’s superseding indictment against the Sorrentinos includes new charges against both the brothers. Michael Sorrentino is now also charged with tax evasion and structuring funds to evade currency transaction reports, while Marc Sorrentino has now been charged with falsifying records to obstruct a grand jury investigation. An arraignment is scheduled for April 17 in a Newark federal court.
"Michael Sorrentino will enter a not guilty plea on April 17, 2017, and will vigorously contest the allegations in court," said attorney Kristen Santillo of Krovatin Klingeman LLC in Newark. Marc Sorrentino's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The superseding indictment alleges that the brothers conspired to defraud the United States by not paying all federal income tax owed on approximately $8.9 million that Michael earned between 2010 and 2012. The brothers allegedly filed false tax returns understating their gross receipts, claiming bogus business deductions, disguising income payments made to the brothers and to others and underreporting their net business income. The Sorrentino brothers also allegedly commingled funds among their business and personal bank accounts and used the money from the business bank accounts to pay for personal items, such as high-end luxury vehicles and clothing.
Michael Sorrentino allegedly made multiple cash deposits on the same day in amounts less than $10,000, in different bank accounts he controlled so he could evade the banks’ reporting requirements. Banks are typically required to file reports with the U.S. Treasury for any cash deposits they receive over $10,000 identifying the person who conducted the transaction, and for whom the transaction was completed.
After being served with grand jury subpoenas seeking the books and records of the brothers’ businesses, Marc Sorrentino allegedly altered and reclassified taxable payments to himself as non-taxable payments and as legitimate business deductions before handing over the books and records to the grand jury.
If convicted, the Sorrentino brothers face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count and three years for each count of aiding in the preparation of false tax returns. Michael Sorrentino also faces up to 10 years in prison for each structuring count and five years for the tax evasion count. Marc Sorrentino faces up to 20 years in prison for obstruction. Both men also face a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.
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