Mike Sorrentino, former star of the reality show, “Jersey Shore,” has been accused of tax fraud. Sorrentino, who goes by the handle “The Situation,” is charged along with his older brother with conspiracy to defraud the United States and filing false tax returns on close to $9 million of income from their two companies: Situation Nation, Inc. and MPS Entertainment.
The brothers – Mike, 33, and his older brother, Marc, appeared in Newark Federal Court on Wednesday where they pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. Marc Sorrentino acts as manager for his younger brother, who earned a fortune by trading on his reality show fame and his trademark abs with TV and personal appearances. He also generated big bucks in endorsement deals for liquor, clothing, vitamins, sunglasses and a tuxedo business in addition to selling an autobiography and a comic book about a superhero named “The Situation.”
The indictment in the case lists seven charges (three for Mike Sorrentino and four for Marc Sorrentino) against the brothers, including accusations that they lied to the accountants hired by them to prepare their tax returns for 2010 to 2012. They are alleged to have not reported a significant amount of their income while overstating or making up business expenses. Mike Sorrentino is also alleged to have not filed a personal tax return for 2012, even though he earned almost $2 million, according to the indictment.
Acting Special Agent Jonathan Larsen, who is in charge of the Newark field office of the IRS – Criminal Investigation unit, listed some of the “business expenses” declared by the Sorrentinos. They include designer clothing, luxury cars and personal costs related to grooming. The indictment also alleges that the brothers deposited money from their business accounts into their personal accounts.
The Sorrentinos appeared in court with their attorneys, who pleaded “not guilty” on their behalf. Neither brother spoke during the proceedings. After being released on unsecured bonds of $250,000 per brother, Mike Sorrentino, clad in designer clothing with perfectly coiffed and gelled hair, appeared nonchalant about the accusations against him. When asked if the possibility of going to jail made him nervous, he replied that he was not worried about it and “That’s why I pleaded not guilty.” He also posted to his Instagram account this statement: “To be old and wise you must first be young and dumb.”
This is not the first time that Mike Sorrentino and one of his brothers got into trouble with police. The family owns a Middleton Township, N.J., tanning salon where, in June of this year, The Situation and his brother, Frank, required intervention by police during a fistfight between the two men. Mike and Marc Sorrentino have been ordered back to court on Oct. 6. They each face up to five years if convicted of the conspiracy charge. Each count of filing false returns, of which Marc Sorrentino has three and Mike Sorrentino has two, would be worth up to three years upon conviction. In addition, The Situation faces an additional maximum sentence of one year for the charge of failure to file.
By Jennifer Pfalz