Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, known for his time on the MTV series “The Jersey Shore,” is currently in the midst of a tax case involving charges of fraud. According to federal tax authorities, Sorrentino and his brother set up two businesses to capitalize on his fame from his time on reality television.
Those companies were allegedly used to mix business and personal funds, and Sorrentino is accused of failing to pay income taxes for two years, failing to file a return at all for one year, and filing a false return for one of the businesses. His brother is accused of falsifying business records that had been subpoenaed by a grand jury.
Sorrentino pleaded not guilty last month on a new indictment in the case. In 2014, when he was initially charged in the case, he pleaded not guilty as well. It isn’t clear exactly why Sorrentino is entered a not guilty plea, but there are several possibilities. Perhaps he truly feels he is innocent, that he did not intend to defraud the IRS. What appears to be tax fraud can sometimes simply be tax negligence, though an accumulation of circumstantial evidence suggestive of fraud can be difficult to set aside.
More likely, Sorrentino and his attorney may believe that prosecutors are not able to fully support the charges as they stand. In any criminal case, it is the government’s burden to prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt, and this requires presenting relevant, reliable evidence that is sufficient to support the charges. It’s also possible Sorrentino is buying time to settle the case with prosecutors.
Proper reporting of taxes is an important task for all taxpayers, but especially for those with significant wealth. Working with an experienced attorney can help ensure that any questionable tax issues are addressed in the filing of a return, and that a taxpayer is able to effectively navigate any investigations that arise regarding tax filings.