Two "Real Housewives of New Jersey" stars were indicted Monday on federal fraud charges. Teresa Giudice, 41, and her husband Guiseppe "Joe" Giudice, 43, have been accused of exaggerating their income while applying for loans before their TV show debuted in 2009, then hiding their improving fortunes in a bankruptcy filing after their first season aired. This is part of a 39-count indictment including charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud.
They also submitted fraudulent mortgage and other loan applications from 2001 through 2008 with false claims about their employment status and salaries. Prosecutors claim the Giudices received $4.6 million in mortgages and also filed fake W-2s and tax returns. Joe Giudice failed to file tax returns from 2004 through 2008. The government says Joe's income fluctuated wildly during those years, amounting to nearly $1 million.
During the hearing, the two were each released on a $500,000 bond and have yet to enter a plea.
"The Giudices lied to the bankruptcy court, to the IRS and to a number of banks, U.S. Attorney Paul 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."
One might assume that a celebrity would be a little bit more careful with their taxes considering the fame and attention from fans. This was not the case. In their petition for bankruptcy protection, the couple failed to mention businesses they owned, rental income they received, and Teresa's true income from the "Real Housewives", website sales and personal appearances. Teresa also failed to report TG Fabulicious, a business created to sell products and capitalize on her fame.