News

‘Real Housewives’ stars plead not guilty in fraud case

‘Real Housewives’ stars plead not guilty in fraud case

"Real Housewives" stars Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice entered pleas of not guilty. Photo: Associated Press

NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) – “Real Housewives of New Jersey” stars Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice entered pleas of not guilty on Wednesday in a federal fraud case that could land them in prison for decades and see him deported to his native Italy.

The couple is accused of submitting fraudulent applications to obtain mortgages and other loans, concealing income from the reality show and failing to pay taxes.

Surrounded by court officers and private security, they entered the U.S. District Courthouse in Newark, New Jersey crowded with media and observers hoping to catch a glimpse of the reality television stars.

As captured on the reality show on Bravo Media, the couple and their four children live in a large, lavishly decorated mansion in Towaco, New Jersey and enjoy shopping sprees.

Teresa Giudice, 41, won renown in the reality television world when in the heat of an argument she overturned a dining table where the rest of the cast was sitting down for a meal.

Wearing a beige suit and her long dark hair pinned up in a neat bun for the court appearance, she did not speak. Neither did her husband, 43, clad in a dark suit with white polka dots.

At the brief hearing, federal prosecutors outlined the extensive 39-count indictment that accuses them of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, making false statements on loan applications and hiding income in a federal bankruptcy case.

Prosecutors say from 2001 until 2008, they submitted fraudulent applications to obtain mortgages and other loans. Following a bankruptcy filing in 2009, they are accused of concealing income that Teresa Giudice earned from the reality show, hiding rental income and concealing various businesses that they controlled.

Giuseppe Giudice also is accused of failing to file federal tax returns from 2004 to 2008, during which time he earned more than $996,000. An Italian citizen, he could face possible deportation if convicted.

Pretrial motions were set for September 9, and a trial date is tentatively scheduled for October 8 before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas.

Attorney Henry Klingeman, representing Teresa Giudice, said he would be seeking for his client to be judged fairly despite her celebrity status.

“I think it’s going to make it challenging to pick a jury that hasn’t formed a conclusion about her, good or bad, before trial,” the attorney said.

Recent Headlines

7 minutes ago in Music

Chris Brown to stay in jail until June

Fresh
brown

Chris Brown's latest bid for freedom has been denied.

20 minutes ago in Entertainment

Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson close to signing on for ‘Jungle Book’

Fresh
lupita

Idris Elba will voice the villainous tiger Shere Khan in the latest adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's adventure tale.

27 minutes ago in Entertainment

John Leguizamo chops off fingertip during filming of ‘Chef’

Fresh
leguizamo

The actor came away from filming with a new-found respect for kitchen staff, a few tips and a great party tale.

1 hour ago in Music

Happy Birthday to the original ‘American Idol’

Fresh
kelly-clarkson2

PHOTOS: Since being crowned the first "American Idol" in 2002, Kelly Clarkson has had a whirlwind career.

1 hour ago in Music

Doctor convicted in Michael Jackson’s death loses latest appeal

Fresh
conrad

Dr. Conrad Murray loses his latest bid to have his 2011 conviction overturned.