Star of reality TV show 'Jersey Shore' charged with tax fraud

Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:41pm EDT
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By Aruna Viswanatha

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino, star of the reality TV show "Jersey Shore," and his brother have been charged with not paying taxes on $8.9 million in income, according to an indictment handed down on Wednesday.

Sorrentino, 32, who popularized the phrase "gym, tan, laundry" to refer to the pre-party routine of the show's cast members, allegedly failed to report income while also claiming clothes and cars as business expenses.

The brothers are charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government and filing false tax returns, the U.S. attorney in New Jersey said.

"An indictment is merely an unproven allegation," Michael Sorrentino's lawyer, Richard Sapinski, said on Wednesday. "Michael has pleaded not guilty and is entitled to be considered not guilty until otherwise proven. He denies that he criminally violated the tax laws."

The MTV series "Jersey Shore," which stopped production in 2012, featured a cast of 20-something Italian-Americans partying, tanning and complaining about their jobs at a beachfront T-shirt stand.

According to the indictment, Sorrentino was paid between $1,500 and $48,000 for appearances at nightclubs, bars and liquor stores between 2010 and 2012, and failed to declare some of it.

The brothers also disguised personal grooming expenses as legitimate business expenses in information provided to their accountant, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also accused Sorrentino's companies of altering accounting records before providing them in response to grand jury subpoenas.   Continued...

Reality television personality Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino arrives at the 2011 American Music Awards in Los Angeles November 20, 2011.  REUTERS/Danny Moloshok