Entertainment News

  • 15 August 2013, 11:26

Real Housewives Pair Plead Not Guilty To Fraud

Two stars of the Real Housewives of New Jersey have pleaded not guilty to a host of federal fraud charges.

Teresa and Guiseppe 'Joe' Giudice made their pleas after passing through a gauntlet of news media outside the courthouse.

Neither spoke during the five-minute court proceeding, and their pleas were entered by their respective lawyers.

The Giudices were charged last month in a 39-count indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud.

US District Judge Esther Salas set a trial date of October 8.

The couple is accused of exaggerating their income while applying for loans before their reality TV show debuted in 2009, then hiding their fortunes in a bankruptcy filing after their first season aired.

They are also accused of submitting fraudulent mortgage and loan applications and fabricating tax returns and employment tax forms.

Prosecutors allege Joe Giudice also failed to file federal tax returns from 2004 to 2008.

Both face hundreds of years in prison and millions of dollars in fines if convicted, but federal sentencing guidelines would likely greatly reduce the penalties.

The couple filed for bankruptcy in 2009, claiming they owed $11m, including $2.2m in mortgages, $13,000 to department stores Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, and nearly $12,000 to a fertility clinic.

Joe Giudice also is facing charges in Passaic County that he used his brother's identity to obtain a driver's licence, presenting his marriage and birth certificates. He rejected a plea deal in April through his lawyer.

Teresa Giudice has parlayed her fame into cookbooks, a line of ready-made bellinis and "Skinny Italian," a specialty food line.

On the show, she is known for her expensive tastes and combative relationship with her brother and sister-in-law. The couple has four children.