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'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' couple Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice indicted on 39 counts

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/30/2013 

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice are facing 39 charges and potential jail time for conspiracy allegations regarding their finances.

The couple is being charged with an alleged conspiracy to defraud lenders and illegally obtain mortgages over the last decade and accused of hiding assets and income during a 2009 bankruptcy case, The Star-Ledger reported.

Federal authorities in Newark, NJ, reportedly announced on Monday the Giudices were being charged with "conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications, and bankruptcy fraud," according to the newspaper. The 39-count indictment also charges Joe with failure to file tax returns between 2004 and 2008 during which he allegedly racked in $1 million.

"The indictment returned today alleges the Giudices lied to the bankruptcy court, to the IRS and to a number of banks," New Jersey's U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement obtained by The Star-Ledger. "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."

"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 of Newark's IRS' criminal division, reportedly added.

The couple allegedly submitted lenders fraudulent mortgage and loan applications between September 2001 and September 2008, falsely claiming they were employed and earning large salaries, according to authorities citing the indictment.

When the Giudices filed a petition for individual Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in October 2009, they were required to disclose to the United States Trustee all assets, income, liabilities, etc.

However, Teresa and Joe allegedly hid businesses they owned, income they had coming in from a rental property, Teresa's The Real Housewives of New Jersey actual income -- including money earned for appearances and website sales -- and her salary increase going from the Bravo show's first season to its second.

According to The Star-Ledger, the conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while they could face up to 30 years in prison and receive a $1 million fine for the bank and loan application fraud counts. 

If charged with bankruptcy fraud, the couple could reportedly see five years in prison and be slapped with a $250,000 fine. Joe's failure to file a tax return charge could allegedly land him one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Teresa -- who also appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice's fifth season -- and Joe both showed up to federal court in Newark on Tuesday morning for a hearing on the multiple fraud charges, E! News reported, and were reportedly released on $500,000 unsecured bail bonds each.

(Photo credit Bravo)

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