‘Real Housewives’ Stars Charged with Mortgage Fraud

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(CNN) — In an extensive 39-count indictment, two “Real Housewives of New Jersey” stars have been charged in a conspiracy to defraud lenders and illegally obtain mortgages.

Teresa Giudice, 41, and Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, 43, were charged Monday by a federal grand jury with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

The indictment also charges Giuseppe Giudice with failure to file tax returns for tax years 2004 through 2008, during which time he allegedly earned nearly $1 million.

“The indictment returned today alleges the Guidices lied to the bankruptcy court, to the IRS and to a number of banks,” Fishman said in a news release. “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.”

Authorities say the New Jersey couple falsely reported that they were employed or making substantial salaries on loan applications and supporting documents. In reality, the indictment says, they either were not employed or were not receiving such salaries, oftentimes falsifying pay stubs and W-2 forms.

Giuseppe Giudice also is charged with multiple counts of bankruptcy fraud for allegedly concealing and making false oaths and declarations about assets and income during the couple’s 2009 bankruptcy case, authorities said.

“The privilege of living well in the United States carries certain real responsibilities,” said Shantelle P. Kitchen, special IRS criminal investigation agent. “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.”

Teresa Giudice issued a statement saying: “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. 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.”

Teresa Giudice’s lawyer, Henry Klingeman, said in the same statement that the reality star will plead not guilty. “The judicial process that begins today with an indictment is a search for the truth,” he said. “As it moves forward, we look forward to vindicating her.”

The Giudices are scheduled to appear Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in a Newark federal court.

Bravo, the network that airs “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” told HLN it has no comment on the charges.

By Alicia Henry, HLNTV.com