'Real Housewives of NJ' Couple Charged with Fraud

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Real Housewives of New Jersey stars Teresa Giudice, 41, and her husband Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice, 43, were charged Monday with an alleged conspiracy to defraud lenders and illegally obtaining mortgages, federal authorities said today. In addition, they are being accused of hiding assets and income during a bankruptcy case.

The 39-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud.

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"The indictment returned today alleges the Giudices lied to the bankruptcy court, to the IRS and to a number of banks," New Jersey's U.S. Attorney, Paul 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 privilege of living well in the United States carries certain real responsibilities, including filing tax returns when required and paying the correct amount of tax," added Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS' criminal division in Newark.

Authorities allege that during 2004 through 2008, Giuseppe received income totaling almost $1 million, but did not file tax returns for those years.

"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," Teresa said in a statement. "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."

"Teresa will plead 'not guilty,'" her attorney Henry Klingeman said in a statement. "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."

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The conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years 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 couple is scheduled to make their first court appearance at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 30, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.