The couple are accused of inflating their income while applying for loans before their Bravo show debuted in 2009, only to then hide their improving finances in a bankruptcy filing after the first season aired. The 39-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud.
According to documents, Teresa Giudice, 41, and Giuseppe aka "Joe" Giudice, 43, submitted fraudulent mortgage and other loan applications from 2001 through 2008, making false claims about their employment status and salaries. Additionally, Joe Giudice failed to file tax returns 2004-2008, the last year during which the government alleges he earned close to $1 million.
Prosecutors also claim that Teresa lied about working as an executive assistant — going so far as to submit fake W-2 forms and fake paystubs — in 2001 when she filed for a mortgage loan of $121,000. The indictment also alleges that, in October 2009, the couple covered up businesses they owned, rental income they received and even Teresa's income from the Real Housewives, website sales and personal appearances.
"Today is a most difficult day for our family," Teresa Giudice said in a statement to the newspaper. "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."
Her attorney told The Star-Ledger that she will plead not guilty. "The judicial process that begins today ... is a search for the truth. As it moves forward, we look forward to vindicating her."
The Giudices are scheduled to make their initial court appearances on Tuesday. "The indictment returned today alleges 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."
The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays at 8/7c on Bravo.