If you made a fortune as a short-lived reality TV star, here’s some good advice: Pay your income taxes because the IRS is watching.
Apparently, this lesson that has been ignored by “reality” celebrities in the past and the present, including former “Jersey Shore” star Mike Sorrentino — aka “The Situation” — and his brother, Marc.
Both men were indicted Wednesday on charges of tax fraud.
According to court documents, the Sorrentino brothers allegedly failed to properly pay taxes on about $8.9 million of income. The indictment alleges the brothers formed various business entities and subsequently submitted false and fraudulent tax returns by failing to report all of the income they earned.
Mike Sorrentino allegedly did not even file a tax return in 2011 In that year, he earned almost $2 million.
Reality TV stars have clashed with the IRS before. Most famously, Richard Hatch, the first $1 million winner on the CBS show Survivor, was convicted of tax evasion in 2006 and sentenced initially to three years in prison.
Marc Sorrentino was charged with four total counts. Mike was charged with three. They face a maximum of 10 and seven years in prison, respectively, in addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
The $8.9 million in income was mostly profit that went through MPS Entertainment LLC and Situation Nation Inc., two companies formed by the brothers.
Through those entities and other companies they created, the pair made money mostly from personal and television appearances by Mike, according to the indictment.
“Michael and Marc Sorrentino filed false tax returns that incorrectly reported millions made from promotions and appearances,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, for the New Jersey District, said in a statement. “The brothers allegedly also claimed costly clothes and cars as business expenses and funneled company money into personal accounts. The law is absolutely clear: telling the truth to the IRS is not optional.”