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'Real Housewives of New Jersey' couple pleads guilty to fraud


A New Jersey couple who became famous for starring on a reality TV show pleaded guilty last week to fraud charges.

"Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice and her husband, Giuseppe, also known as Joe, pleaded guilty to several charges including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as well as three counts of bankruptcy fraud.

Joe Giudice also pleaded guilty to charges stemming from failing to file taxes in 2004.

Prosecutors accused the couple of lying during their bankruptcy proceedings and hiding income. They were also accused of exaggerating their income when applying for loans before the first season of their reality TV show aired in 2009.

The Giudices filed for bankruptcy protection the same year, claiming they were $11 million in debt. Prosecutors said the couple then hid the money they made from the TV show.

Both of the Giudices could face time in prison. Joe Giudice faces between 37 to 46 months and Teresa Giudice faces 21 to 27 months under federal sentencing guidelines; however, the judge presiding over the case has authority to deviate from those guidelines.

An attorney for Teresa Giudice said his client will seek probation.

Joe Giudice encountered a whole separate legal issue when it was revealed that he is not a U.S. citizen. His lawyer said that Giudice was brought to the United States from Italy as a baby and was not aware that he is an Italian citizen.

That means Joe Giudice could potentially face deportation after he completes his sentence. However, his lawyer has already made the argument that deporting Giudice would be "inhumane," especially considering that he has four American-born daughters.

The couple will be sentenced on July 8.

Source: Associated Press,"'Housewives' couple plead guilty to fraud in NJ," David Porter, March 4, 2014

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