Authorities in New Jersey today handed up additional federal fraud charges against Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice and her husband Joe.
Teresa, 41, and Joe, 43, were already indicted earlier this year on charges they conspired to fraudulently obtain millions of dollars in loans used to finance the lavish lifestyle they display on cable television. At the same time, prosecutors have accused them of trying to hide assets while in bankruptcy.
They have pleaded not guilty and were scheduled to go to trial early next year. Because of today’s developments, the couple’s trial is expected to be delayed until later in 2014.
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, today’s “additional counts stem from a $361,250 mortgage loan that Teresa Giudice obtained in July 2005. In the course of obtaining the loan, she and (her husband) prepared a loan application which falsely stated that Teresa Giudice was employed as a realtor and that she had a monthly salary of $15,000. Teresa Giudice was not employed outside the home at the time.”
The new charges each carry possible maximum penalties of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The couple is due back in court Wednesday to face another arraignment.
With the latest charges, the pair stands accused of a total 41 counts, ranging from conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud to making false statements. Joe Giudice, listed in court papers by his legal name “Giuseppe,” is also facing charges for failure to file tax returns from 2004 through 2008.
Teresa’s attorney, Henry Klingeman, immediately proclaimed his client is not guilty.
“Teresa intends to plead ‘not guilty’ to the allegations in the new indictment,” Klingeman said. “She looks forward to defending herself at the trial.”
Joe’s lawyer, Miles Feinstein, again said his client is not guilty and stressed that the added charges are simply “piling on” by the feds.
The Giudices are among the most popular characters on Bravo’s line-up of reality TV shows. They live in upscale Towaco, N.J., and their marital and legal issues are now regular fodder both for the show and the tabloids.
In addition to the federal fraud case, Joe is facing a criminal trial in New Jersey state court on charges he obtained a driver’s license by impersonating his brother. At the time, Giudice’s own license was suspended because of a driving-under-the-influence episode.
ABC News reported last week that Joe, whose license has been suspended 47 times since he first became a New Jersey driver in 1987, was cited earlier this month for careless driving in a school zone after he swerved into a cop driving in oncoming lanes of traffic. Officials said the police officer believed Giudice was texting at the time.