America’s entertainment industry has long promoted the fantasy that anyone can go from obscurity to celebrity practically overnight. Along with instant fame is also the prospect of instant fortune.
While the vast majority of us will never become celebrities (and certainly not overnight), this dream does become a reality for some. This is particularly true for people who land a spot on a reality television show. Suddenly coming into a lot of money does have its risks, however, including financial mismanagement that can lead to allegations of tax fraud.
Many Connecticut residents have at least heard of the wildly popular reality TV show “The Jersey Shore,” which ran on MTV from 2009 to 2012. The cast of the show became nearly instant celebrities, including a man named Mike Sorrentino, better known by his nickname “The Situation.”
Recently, Sorrentino found himself in a bit of a situation with the IRS. He and his brother have been charged with tax crimes for allegedly filing false returns during the years that Sorrentino was making millions of dollars in income because of the show and his celebrity endorsement deals.
According to the indictments, the two brothers over-inflated their business expenses while under-reporting income earned. Mike Sorrentino allegedly failed to file a tax return at all for 2011 despite making nearly $2 million in income.
From the outside looking in, this case could be as simple as two brothers who did not know how to handle their sudden fortune. Whether they intended to defraud the government may not be an easy question to answer or allegation to prove. Other celebrities have certainly been indicted on similar charges in the past.
If you find yourself dealing with an audit, allegations of fraud or any other tax-related issue, please don’t go through it alone. An experienced tax law attorney can ensure that your rights are protected and that your case is resolved in the best manner possible.
Source: NJ.com, “'Jersey Shore's' Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino pleads not guilty to federal tax evasion charges,” Jeff Goldman and Thomas Zambito, Sept. 24, 2014