From Shakira’s latest scandal to Martha Stewart’s 2002 case, so many celebrities have been accused of tax evasion. Despite having millions of dollars, these stars have still tried to pocket a few more over their careers. Here are 13 celebrities busted for tax evasion over the years.
Hollywood has had its share of tax evasion, from actors to singers to soccer players like Lionel Messi. Some of these celebrities have also served time in jail for not reporting their income or hiding their cash offshore. Many of them claim they’re innocent, even though they’ve been charged with tax evasion.
It doesn’t matter how famous you are when it comes to the law, the government will come after your cash. Some of these celebrities even worked out deals to pay off their debts rather than go to jail, which you can also manage to do by working with a company such as Tax Defense Network.
It was revealed on July 29, 2022, that Shakira, 45, was accused of tax fraud. She rejected a plea deal, and a judge ordered the case to trial on Sep. 27, 2022.
According to court documents, Shakira has been accused of defrauding the Spanish government of 14.5 million euros ($15 million) in taxes.
In July, she made her first public statement on the matter, saying “The prosecutor’s office uses wrongful tactics to apply pressure-just as they do with thousands of taxpayers daily.”
Todd Chrisley & Julie Chrisley
Back in June 2022, “Chrisley Knows Best” stars Todd Chrisley and Julie Chrisley were found guilty on all charges of tax evasion. According to the court, the couple swindled $30 million from community banks over a long time, resulting in tax evasion charges.
It was 12 counts in total against the couple, including Julie’s wire fraud and obstruction of justice charges. In August 2019, they were first indicted and convicted of bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and tax fraud.
Teresa Guidice & Joe Guidice
In 2015, Teresa Guidice and her ex-husband Joe Guidice got a federal tax lien from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) due to their former “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” star. In a claim against the reality TV couple, the government wants $551,563 from them.
Teresa served less than 12 months of her 15-year sentence for the crimes, while Joe served 41 months after pleading guilty to mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud charges in 2014. Teresa and Joe divorced in 2020 after 23 years together.
For failing to file millions of dollars in tax returns in 2008, Wesley Snipes, 59, got a three-year sentence in prison. As part of the past due tax returns, the actor was fined $5 million. He filed for an appeal in 2010, but was denied, and began serving his sentence in December. In April 2013, Wesley was released from prison.
Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino
Another celebrity found guilty of tax evasion is Mike Sorrentino, 40, known as The Situation from MTV’s “Jersey Shore”. He was sentenced to eight months in prison back in October 2018.
In 2018, he and his brother were accused of lying on their tax returns for nearly $9 million in income. He was released from prison on September 12, 2019, and has since welcomed a son.
In 2004, Ja Rule owed $1.1 million in taxes. He was sentenced to 28 months in jail in 2011 for tax evasion. Between 2004 and 2008, he didn’t file his taxes. The prosecutors dropped charges against him for not paying taxes in 2007 and 2008. He worked out a deal with them to drop it.
For tax evasion in 2013, singer Lauryn Hill was sentenced to three months in prison. Lauryn didn’t pay taxes on her income between 2005 and 2007. During those two years, Lauryn didn’t pay a total of $1.8 million in taxes on her taxable income. In October 2013, Lauryn walked out of prison for free. She served her time in Danbury, Connecticut, at a low-security facility for all women.
It was found that Lionel Messi was trying to pocket extra cash. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison, but in June 2017 he got a fine. He and his father were found guilty of hiding earnings from image rights using off-shore accounts. He was fined €252,000 ($288,000, £223,000), which is equivalent to €400 for each day.
58-year-old Nicolas Cage has been hit with a $6.2 million tax lien in 2009 by the IRS for tax evasion himself. In the end, Nicolas sued his money manager for negligence and fraud. The actor’s money manager sued his money manager back claiming Nicolas used the money to buy luxury vehicles and other non-essentials. Despite the settlement of the cases, Nicolas is still dealing with the aftermath of his messy finances, according to the outlet.
As a result of his tax debts, the IRS seized Willie Nelson’s personal property. In 1993, Willie and the IRS settled his debt for $9 million, including the $3 million that he already paid. In the end, Willie owed $16.7 million, including $10.2 million in interest and penalties.
In 2002, Martha Stewart was fined $220,000 for failing to pay taxes on her luxurious East Hampton home. She is famous for many things, including her delicious recipes and evading taxes. She also served five months in jail in 2004 for insider trading, which wasn’t tax-related. In 2022, Martha’s worth will be $400 million and she’s living lavishly.
New York City rapper Fat Joe, 51, was sentenced to prison time for not filing his income tax returns from 2007 to 2010. He was sentenced in 2013 to a total of four months in prison by the District of New Jersey. During the three years of unreported income, Fat Joe had filed for his tax returns, and the district reports that he lost $718,038 in taxes. Along with his prison sentence, the government also fined him $15,000 in total.