Reality TV star Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino, along with his brother Marc, pleaded guilty Friday to tax crimes, federal prosecutors announced Friday.
The 36-year-old Jersey Shore star is facing the maximum sentence of five years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of tax evasion, according to the Department of Justice. His brother faces three years in prison for pleading guilty to one count of aiding in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return.
"What the defendants admitted to today, quite simply, is tantamount to stealing money from their fellow taxpayers," US Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a statement Friday. "All of us are required by law to pay our fair share of taxes. Celebrity status does not provide a free pass from this obligation."
In a statement to the Blast, Mike Sorrentino's attorneys said that he made mistakes at a "very different and tumultuous time in his life" and that he "deeply regrets his failure to pay his taxes."
"He has been sober for two years, counseled other young people facing life’s stresses, and has built a stable, loving relationship with his girlfriend Lauren Pesce, who stands by his side," the statement said.
The Sorrentino brothers created businesses, such as MPS Entertainment LLC and Situation Nation Inc., "to take advantage of Michael’s celebrity status," federal prosecutors said.
Mike Sorrentino admitted that in 2011 he concealed a portion of his taxable income to evade paying the full amount of taxes he owed. According to prosecutors, he made cash deposits into bank accounts in amounts less than $10,000 in attempts to ensure that the deposits would not come to the IRS's attention.
The brothers are also facing a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. They are scheduled to be sentenced on April 25.
"No matter what your stature is in our society, everyone is expected to play by the rules, and those who do not will be held accountable and brought to justice," Jonathan D. Larsen, an IRS special agent, said.
The court approved Mike Sorrentino's request to travel to Florida for the Jersey Shore Family Vacation reunion show while under probation.
Mike Sorrentino's attorneys urged the court to consider a fair sentence for his "minor role in the offense."
"In the meantime, he will continue to entertain millions on Jersey Shore and thanks everyone who has expressed support," the attorneys said in a statement.