Teresa Giudice, Joe Giudice Face 50 Years in Prison for Money Fraud
Real Housewives of New Jersey's Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice -- who have been plagued with financial problems for years -- were indicted on fraud and tax charges on Monday, July 29. In his 39-count indictment, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman charged the Bravo reality stars with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud.
"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 tells Us Weekly 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."
The indictment also charges Joe with failure to file tax returns from 2004 through 2008, during which time he allegedly earned nearly $1 million.
"The indictment returned today alleges the Giudices lied to the bankruptcy court, to the IRS and to a number of banks," 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."
Garden State natives Teresa, 41, and Joe, 43, are parents to daughters Gia (born 2001), Gabriella (born 2004), Milania (born 2005) and Audriana (born 2009). Teresa, who has authored several cookbooks, began appearing on The Real Housewives of New Jersey when the series -- now in its fifth season -- premiered in 2009.
"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," Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, said. "Today's indictment alleges the Giudices did not live up to their responsibilities by failing to file tax returns, falsifying loan applications and concealing assets in their bankruptcy petition. The reality is that this type of criminal conduct will not go undetected and individuals who engage in this type of financial fraud should know they will be held accountable."
Conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, while bank fraud carries a maximum of 30 years. The remaining charges could result in more prison time -- not to mention the hefty fines associated with each penalty.
The Giudices are scheduled to appear before Judge Cathy Waldor at the United States District Court in Newark, New Jersey, on Tuesday, July 30. A rep for Bravo had no comment when contacted by Us.
Teresa's attorney, Henry Klingeman, tells Us, "Teresa will plead 'not guilty.' 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."
Joe, a former pizza parlor owner, also faces 10 years behind bars for allegedly using his brother's ID to obtain a driver's license in 2010; he will appear in court on Oct. 28. "Joe maintains his innocence," his attorney, Miles Feinstein, tells Us Weekly in its July 29 issue. "It will be tough to choose a jury because of the high-profile defendant."