One of the biggest stars of a polarizing reality show is pushing for leniency after pleading guilty to tax fraud. TMZ reports that Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, best known for his role on the love-it-or-hate-it MTV series “Jersey Shore,” entered a guilty plea Friday in New Jersey.
Sorrentino “walked into the Newark court with his girlfriend, Lauren Pesce, and entered his guilty plea as expected. During the hearing, the judge approved Sitch to travel to Florida to shoot a ‘Jersey Shore’ reunion,” TMZ reports.
The report adds that Sorrentino “faces up to 5 years in prison and up to a $250k fine. He’ll be sentenced April 25. He initially entered a not guilty plea and faced up to 15 years in prison. But as we reported … the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed docs informing the judge it had struck plea agreements with Mike and his brother.”
Sorrentino was accused of failing to pay the full tax bill on almost $9 million in earnings received between 2010 and 2012.
E Online reports: “The 36-year-old ‘Jersey Shore’ star’s 38-year-old brother Marc Sorrentino, who has worked with him, pleaded guilty to aiding in the preparation of a false and fraudulent tax return and faces up to three years behind bars, New Jersey’s District Attorney’s Office said in a statement obtained by E! News.”
TMZ notes that Mike Sorrentino’s attorneys, Henry E. Klingeman and Kristen M. Santillo, released a statement following the plea in which they call for leniency.
“The plea terms call for a balance between punishing the wrong committed and conditions that facilitate Mike living a productive, law-abiding life moving forward,” the statement says. “Following through on this plea agreement, Michael intends to pay restitution before sentencing.”
E Online quotes U.S. Attorney Carpenito saying today: “What the defendants admitted to today, quite simply, is tantamount to stealing money from their fellow taxpayers. 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.”