Ah, the Real Housewives of New Jersey, the guiltiest of our reality TV pleasures. Some of TV's most memorable moments came from that show. How can you forget Teresa's "prostitution whore" table-flipping incident? Or, her all-cash furniture purchases for her new, gaudy mansion? Or, her sibling
jealousy rivalry, with her sister-in-law? Need we say more?
Well, s*#t just got real for Teresa, and her husband, Joe. And since this is a Third Circuit blog, let's sit down at the federal charges table and see what the goverment is dishing up.
The pair were indicted, by a federal grand jury, on Monday on 39 counts including “conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud,” the U.S. Department of Justice stated in a press release. The Giudices have indicated they plan on pleading not guilty, reports Forbes.
The Giudice’s financial woes started long before Teresa was US Weekly-cover story material. The government alleges, that from 2001 to 2008, the Giudices lied on mortgage and loan applications, falsely representing that they were employed and receiving income. Teresa even allegedly submitted fake paystubs and W-2 forms. Scandalous!
And while Teresa was known on TV for a house you could get lost in and irreverent spending, she presented a different story to the courts in 2009 when she filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Poor little rich girl. The government alleges that the Giudices knowingly lied about their assets and income in the bankruptcy filings.
The Giudices face a possibility of over fifty-years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. If that’s not a wake-up call, we don’t know what is.
So, what should we learn from this? A few things. First, and most importantly, we’ve learned that the DoJ actually has a sense of humor. Speaking on the federal charges, U.S. Attorney Fishman stated: “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.”
Next, we’ve learned that if you know you are breaking the law, you should probably stay married despite the media’s portrayal of your spouse’s infidelity. It’s a good thing the Giudices are still married so at least they don’t have to testify against each other. Who knew, at the end of the day, that their rocky marriage may be the one thing to save them?
Finally, here’s a lesson to your wanna-be reality star clients. Don’t flaunt your wealth on TV if you’re filing for bankruptcy. Turns out, federal agents watch TV too. And they don’t like to be lied to.
- Evidence of Lavish Living Exposes Tax Fraud (FindLaw’s U.S. Third Circuit Blog)
- Tax Evasion Conviction Requires an Affirmative Act (FindLaw’s U.S. Second Circuit Blog)
- Day School Owners Lose Tax Fraud Appeal (FindLaw’s U.S. Third Circuit Blog)