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'Real Housewives of New Jersey' stars indicted for fraud

Stars of the Real Housewives of New Jersey Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice were indicted Monday on federal fraud and tax evasion charges.
TV personality Teresa Giudice (File photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
TV personality Teresa Giudice

Stars of the Real Housewives of New Jersey Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice were indicted Monday on federal fraud and tax evasion charges. The Justice Department has announced it will charge the Giudices of 39 counts including "conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud."

According to the Justice Department release, Joe Giudice also failed to file tax returns between 2004 and 2008, during which time the husband allegedly earned nearly $1 million. Over the four-year period, the Giudices allegedly lied to bankruptcy court and to the IRS about their hidden assets and income.

"Today is a most difficult day for our family," Teresa Giudice said in a statement. "I support Joe, and as a wonderful husband and father I know he wants only the best for our lovely daughters and me," she said. "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."

Her lawyer, Henry Klingeman, said that Teresa will plead "not guilty." No one has yet commented about the charges on behalf of Joe Giudice.

This has not been the first time the couple, whose lives have been documented on the popular Bravo series, has had legal issues. In 2009, the pair filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and has publicly discussed their legal problems on the show.

In January 2010, Joe Giudice's license was suspended at the time for driving while intoxicated after he flipped his pickup in Montville, New Jersey. He is accused of using his brother's identity in June the same year to obtain a driver's license at the Motor Vehicle Commission office in Paterson, New Jersey. His license trial has been moved to October due to scheduling changes. Joe, who has plead not guilty, rejected a plea deal this past April that would have required him to serve four years in prison.

Obtaining a false driver's license in New Jersey is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Joe Giudice is also charged with forgery, which carries an 18-month maximum prison sentence.

In September 2010, Joe also served a 10-day jail sentence for driving without a license in Morris County.

"The indictment today alleges the Guidices lied to the bankruptcy court, to the IRS and to a number of banks,” 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 bank fraud and loan application fraud carry maximum penalties of up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The two are scheduled to make their initial court appearances at 10 am Tuesday, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.