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‘Jersey Shore’ star pleads not guilty to tax fraud
C’mon, admit it: you’ve watched at least a few minutes of MTV’s “Jersey Shore.” Okay, fine, not all of us have let our curiosity get the best of us, but for those who have, one of the main characters of the series is currently making headlines for a tax fraud case. Mike Sorrentino, whose nickname on the show was “The Situation,” is currently facing charges that he and his brother failed to pay $8.9 million of taxes between 2010 and 2012.
According to the IRS, the brothers filed false income tax returns, failing to report personal and business income and claiming false business deductions. Those earnings were largely from public appearances for which potentially thousands of dollars were paid. Authorities also accused Sorrentino of altering accounting records or having them altered after a grand jury issued a subpoena.
Sorrentino denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorney made a public statement last month that Sorrentino “denies that he criminally violated the tax laws.” In effect this means that he is claiming the violations were due to negligence rather than fraud.
The difference between tax negligence and tax fraud is pretty significant, not only in terms of the mental state of the taxpayer at the time the filing was made but also in terms of the penalties attached. Penalties for fraud, of course, are much more significant.
While the IRS usually has a pretty good idea of when an individual has committed fraud or negligence, this is not always the case. Those who have been wrongfully accused of tax fraud need to work with an experienced attorney to ensure their rights are protected.
Source: Reuters, “Star of reality TV show ‘Jersey Shore’ charged with tax fraud,” Aruna Viswanatha, September 24, 2014.