Two stars of the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" were indicted Monday on federal fraud charges, 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.
Teresa Giudice, 41, and her husband Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice, 43, of Montville Township, were charged in a 39-count indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud.
The couple submitted fraudulent mortgage and other loan applications from 2001 through 2008, a year before their show debuted on Bravo, making phony claims about their employment status and salaries, the indictment said.
Prosecutors allege the Giudices received about $4.6 million in mortgages, withdrawals from home equity lines of credit and construction loans. In some instances the couple filed fake W-2s and tax returns.
Joe Giudice also failed to file tax returns for the years 2004 through 2008, when he is alleged to have earned nearly $1 million, the government said. During that time his income allegedly fluctuated wildly; the indictment states he made $323,481 in 2005 and $26,194 in 2006.
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The reality TV stars were scheduled to make their initial court appearances Tuesday.
Teresa's attorney, Henry Klingeman, said she would plead not guilty. Joe's attorney did not return a message seeking comment.
Teresa also issued her own statement, saying it was a difficult day for her family, that she supports her husband, and that she hopes to resolve the case with the government as quickly as possible.