Two stars of the Bravo television reality show “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” have been indicted on fraud and tax charges, the Department of Justice announced on Monday.
The DoJ said that Teresa Giudice, 41, and her husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, 43, were indicted and charged with conspiracy defraud lenders and illegally obtain mortgages and other loans by allegedly hiding assets and income during a bankruptcy case.
The couple was charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud. Those charges carry a combined maximum of 55 years in prison and $1.5 million fine.
The 39-count indictment, which was returned by a grand jury on Monday, also alleges that Joe Giudice did not file tax returns between 2004 and 2008. Each year of failing to file a tax return is punishable with up to a year in prison and $100,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman delivered a killer accompanying statement in announcing the indictment.
“The indictment returned today alleges the Guidices lied to the bankruptcy court, to the IRS and to a number of banks,” Fishman said. “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.”
Here’s the full readout of the indictment from the DoJ:
From September 2001 through September 2008, Giuseppe and Teresa Giudice allegedly engaged in a mail and wire fraud conspiracy in which they submitted to lenders fraudulent mortgage and other loan applications and supporting documents in order to obtain mortgages and other loans. The Giudices falsely represented on loan applications and supporting documents that they were employed and/or receiving substantial salaries when, in fact, they were either not employed or not receiving such salaries.
For example, in September 2001, Teresa Giudice applied for a mortgage loan of $121,500 for which she submitted a loan application that falsely claimed that she was employed as an executive assistant. She also submitted fake W-2 Forms and fake paystubs purportedly issued by her employer. The indictment also charges specific instances where the Giudices committed bank fraud and loan application fraud in the course of obtaining loans from several banks.
On Oct. 29, 2009, the Giudices filed a petition for individual Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark. Over the next few months, they filed several amendments to the bankruptcy petition. As part of the bankruptcy filings, the Giudices were required to disclose to the United States Trustee, among other things, assets, liabilities, income, and any anticipated increase in income. 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 Giudices concealed their anticipated increase in income from the then-upcoming Season Two of the Bravo television show. The Giudices are charged with multiple counts of bankruptcy fraud for concealing and making false oaths and declarations about the assets and income during their bankruptcy case.
The indictment also alleges that during tax years 2004 through 2008, Giuseppe Giudice received income totaling $996,459, but did not file tax returns for those years.
The conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years of in prison and a $250,000 fine. The bank fraud and loan application fraud counts each carry a maximum potential 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. The failure to file a tax return counts each carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
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