NEWARK, N.J. (CN) – Getting one-third of the time handed to his brother, former “Jersey Shore” cast member Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino was ordered Friday to do eight months in federal prison for not paying taxes.
The sentencing this morning drew the panoply of the "Jersey Shore" cast to the Newark federal courthouse, some 10 months after Sorrentino pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion.
At 37, The Situation is the younger brother of Marc Sorrentino, 39, who pleaded guilty to aiding in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return. Both wore black suits for the hearing today. Marc received a 24-month sentence.
As they learned their fates, The Situation stood beside his fiancee, Lauren Pesce, while former castmates Jenni “JWoww” Farley, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and DJ Paulie D, otherwise known as Paul DelVecchio Jr., looked on.
Apart from a brief statement Mike Sorrentino made about his sobriety, which he said he has maintained for several years now, defense attorney Henry Klingeman did most of the talking Friday.
Klingeman said Sorrentino’s father was abusive and that his client’s stardom from MTV was a dangerous cocktail for nascent substance-abuse problems and low self-esteem.
Sorrentino apologized for his conduct and said he is "overcoming my demons and putting my life back together."
"Today I'm a man that I should have been years ago," he said.
The Sorrentinos were indicted in September 2014 on charges they failed to report $9 million in income that Mike earned from the MTV reality show and various promotional appearances. Prosecutors alleged that the brothers also wrongly claimed luxury cars, flashy clothes and other swag as business expenses.
A former accountant for the pair of brothers pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges that he helped the men evade as much as $1.5 million in taxes. Then in April last year, both Sorrentinos were indicted on additional charges including tax evasion, structuring, and falsifying records.
Though prosecutors called for The Situation to get a sentence of 14 months in prison, saying that jail time “would send the message that tax fraud will be met with real punishment," their defense attorneys pushed for a sentence of probation.
In addition to the prison term U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton also ordered Mike Sorrentino to complete 500 hours of community service and pay a $10,000 fine within 30 days.
"With celebrity comes responsibility," she told him. "Part of the cost of making money is you have to pay taxes. We all have to."
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman applauded the penalties given to the Sorrentinos, saying celebrity status cannot excuse lying to and defrauding the federal government. “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," Zuckerman said in a statement.
“The law requires all Americans to pay our fair share of taxes," Zuckerman continued. "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.”
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