By: Brent Osborne
It is no secret that the stars of Bravo‘s Real Housewives franchise have their fair share of financial woes. This time around, The Real Housewives of New Jersey stars Teresa and Joe Giudice have caught themselves in financial peril, again.
Teresa and Joe were indicted last week on 39-counts of federal fraud and tax charges that, according to legal experts, may cause them both to serve time in federal prison.
The 39-count indictment details charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud, against the couple from Towaco, N.J.
The indictment also accuses Joe Giudice of failing to file tax returns for 2004 through 2008.
The 33-page indictment document states that Joe and Teresa falsely represented on loan applications to lenders that they were employed and/or receiving substantial salaries when in fact, they were not employed or not receiving such salaries.
For example, one lender, CBBC, issued the Giudices a loan for 1.72 million dollars after the couple allegedly submitted fraudulent tax and W-2 forms and falsely stated that they had a private bank account with $500,000.
In addition, the couple allegedly concealed assets from the government during their October 2009 petition for bankruptcy protection. The couple allegedly concealed businesses they owned and income they received from a rental property. In addition, Teresa and Joe allegedly failed to disclose Teresa’s true earnings from The Real Housewives of New Jersey and her earnings from paid appearances and magazine deals.
“The indictment returned to today alleges the Giudices lied to the bankruptcy court, to the IRS and to a number of banks,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. 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.”
Soon after the news broke, Teresa released a statement through her lawyer pledging her loyalty to her husband, Joe, and her commitment to her family.
“Today is a most difficult day for our family,” she said. “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.”
During the couple’s first hearing this past Tuesday, the two were each released on $500,000 bond, co-signed by Joe Giudices’s parents. The duo has yet to enter a plea; however, according to Teresa’s attorney, Henry Klingeman, she will plead not guilty.
“Teresa will plead ‘not guilty,’” he said. “The judicial process that begins today with an indictment is a search for the truth. As it moves forward, we look forward to vindicating her.”
According to RadarOnline, the United States’ Attorney’s Office may be considering calling some of Teresa and Joe’s RHONJ co-stars to testify AGAINST the couple in court. Producers and executives for Bravo could also be subpoenaed.
“The U.S. Attorney will be extensively going over all potential witnesses which would include her (Teresa’s) co-stars on the show,” a source close to the prosecution case told Radar.
“The women could be called to testify at the trial because they could have firsthand knowledge of Teresa’s financial dealings, before and after the show premiered. Prosecutors could also subpoena footage from the New Jersey housewife franchise, along with producers who might also have information.”
If convicted, Teresa and Joe could each face decades behind bars. Joe even faces being deported to Italy if he is found guilty of just one of the 39 counts in the indictment, prosecutors said — as it emerged yesterday that he is not a US citizen.
Added to that, Juicy Joe is currently awaiting trial for allegedly impersonating his brother to illegally obtain a driver’s license after his own was suspended for a DWI. He can face up to 10 years in prison for those charges.
Despite the animosity, Teresa has every intention on continuing her role on The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
“Teresa has no plans to stop filming,” a show insider exclusively told In Touch. And with season six on the horizon, Teresa plans on filming the season five reunion episode in September. “She would never miss it,” the insider shared.
However, due to the ongoing legal issue, the indictments will not be discussed.
“It will have to stick to show drama,” the source says. “She’s putting on a face because she doesn’t want anyone, especially Melissa, to see her sweat.”
While Bravo has not released an official statement regarding the indictment, a source told The News that the network is no longer interested in a spin-off involving Teresa
“Bravo only spins off happy situations — marriages, baby news. Not prison.”
Bravo’s Andy Cohen addressed the charges on twitter saying “I’m not avoiding it I don’t have any information!”
Since news broke about Teresa’s indictment, the reality star has been garnering support from some unlikely sources.
Lea Black, star of The Real Housewives of Miami, reached out to Teresa on Twitter.
“Sending strength @Teresa_Giudice asking everyone to support you and your family and not pile on – love to your girls and sending blessings”
MobWives star “Big Ang”, who is no stranger to troubles with the law, announced that she believes Teresa and Joe are innocent.
“I think they’re innocent. I feel like she’s innocent and so is he,” Ang told TMZ.
“I wish them all the luck, them and their family. I’m sure they’ll be OK; you have to keep your chin up,” she advised.
One reality star who is not offering any sympathy is former Housewife and queen of cocktails Bethenny Frankel.
“I haven’t paid that much attention,” Frankel told US Weekly. “Do I feel sorry for them? No, I don’t. Not so much because it broke the law. You broke the law and you went on television. That’s not really that smart.”
Undeterred by the unfortunate circumstances, Teresa, who is not allowed to leave the New York/New Jersey area, made an appearance Wednesday night too accept a Beauty Buster Award for her Milania Hair Care line. She was also able to spend some downtime with longtime friend and former RHONJ cast member Dina Manzo in the Hamptons this past weekend.
Teresa snapped some photos of her getaway for her Twitter followers , writing alongside one picture, “Hamptons visit with my girls @dinamanzo and@pamcolacino #greatfriends”
Teresa and Joe were also able to spend some time with their family this weekend, posting pictures via Instagram on Saturday. The mother of four shared photos of their daughters, Gia, 13, Gabriella, 10, Milania, 7, and Audriana, 3, enjoying time with their parents and cousins at a family member’s backyard birthday party.
The couple’s next court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 14, the same day Teresa is scheduled to have another Fabulicious on the Grill book signing in Wayne, N.J. The book signing has yet to be postponed.
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**Disclaimer: This article was written as an informative piece, without any intention of giving an opinion. Teresa and Joe Giudice are innocent of the crimes mentioned above until proven guilty in a court of law.**