Relaymedia

'Real Housewives of New Jersey' Season 5: Teresa and Joe Giudice Could Face 30 years in Prison if Convicted

( [email protected] ) Jul 30, 2013 09:03 AM EDT
"Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice and her husband, Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice, appeared in federal court Tuesday morning in Newark to answer an indictment issued Monday on federal fraud charges.
Joe Giudice, 43, left, and his wife, Teresa Giudice, 41, walk out of Martin Luther King, Jr. Courthouse after a court appearance, Tuesday, July 30, 2013, in Newark, N.J.

"Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice and her husband, Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice, appeared in federal court Tuesday morning in Newark to answer an indictment issued Monday on federal fraud charges.

"Today is a most difficult day for our family," Giudice tweeted on Monday after the news broke. "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. Thank you all for your kind wishes, prayers and support." she added.

The Giudices are 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.

They were each released on $500,000 unsecured bail bonds. They must surrender their passports and they are not allowed to leave New York or New Jersey until their next hearing, which is scheduled for Aug. 14.

During the hearing, it was revealed that Joe is not a legal U.S. citizen. If Joe is found guilty, he could be deported to Italy.

Authorities say the couple submitted fraudulent mortgage and loan applications from 2001 to 2008, including fake tax returns and W-2s. Prosecutors allege Joe Giudice failed to file tax returns for the years 2004 through 2008, when he is alleged to have earned nearly $1 million.

In their 2009 bankruptcy filing, the couple said they were $11 million in debt, including $2.2 million in mortgages, $13,000 to Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, and nearly $12,000 to a fertility clinic.

"The investigation went on for a pretty long time and we are confident we have enough evidence to convict the defendants beyond a reasonable doubt," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said after the proceeding.

Teresa Giudice's attorney, Henry Klingeman, said she would plead not guilty. The couple could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.