Teresa and Joe Giudice (Vallery Jean/FilmMagic)
In a 39-count indictment filed Monday by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman, the Giudices, of Towaco, New Jersey, have been accused of exaggerating their income while applying for loans and then hiding improving fortunes after filing for bankruptcy. The counts include conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and making false statements on loan applications.
The alleged fraudulent mortgage and loan applications are for the years 2001 through 2008. Joe, 43, has been charged with not filing tax returns for 2004 through 2008 (a period during which he allegedly earned $1 million), while Teresa, 41, has been accused of lying about her employment when applying for a mortgage loan in 2001, as well as submitting fake W-2 forms and pay stubs.
A full list of the charges has been posted online by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
If convicted, the married couple faces the possibility of spending many years behind bars. According to Fishman's office, the conspiracy of mail and wire fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the bank and loan application fraud counts each carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, the bankruptcy fraud counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and the failure to file a tax return carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine for each year missed
"The indictment returned today alleges the Giudices lied to the bankruptcy court, to the IRS and to a number of banks," Fishman said in a statement. "Everyone has an obligation to tell the truth when dealing with the courts, paying their taxes and applying for loans or mortgages. That's reality."
The Giudices filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2009. According to the U.S. Attorney office's statement, "The indictment alleges that the Giudices intentionally concealed businesses they owned, income they received from a rental property, and Teresa Giudice's true income from the television show 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey,' website sales, and personal and magazine appearances."
The defendants are scheduled to make their initial court appearances on Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark, NJ, federal court.
Teresa is represented by New Jersey-based lawyer Henry E. Klingeman, who issued the following statement over the indictment, "Teresa will plead 'not guilty.' The judicial process that begins today ... is a search for the truth. As it moves forward, we look forward to vindicating her."
Giudice's lawyer also released the following statement on behalf of his client: "Today is a most difficult day for our family. I support Joe and, as a wonderful husband and father, I know he wants only the best for our lovely daughters and me. I am committed to my family and intend to maintain our lives in the best way possible, which includes continuing my career. As a result, I am hopeful that we will resolve this matter with the Government as quickly as possible."
A rep for Bravo, the NBC Universal network that airs the "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," has "no comment."
Now this seems like something really worth flipping a table over!
The Giudices aren't the first "Real Housewives" to face some major financial problems. Check out our gallery of some of the more cash-challenged cast members!
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