Update, 8:09 AM: Real Housewives Of New Jersey stars Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice appeared in federal court in Newark today to face charges in their 39-count fraud indictment case. The couple didn’t enter a plea to the charges that came down on Monday but they both handed over a $500,000 unsecured bail bond. Also Judge Cathy Waldor compelled the duo to hand over their passports and imposed travel restrictions on the Giudices. In what is an obvious sign of a flight risk concern, the couple is now only allowed to travel in New Jersey and New York State. This morning’s proceedings also revealed that Joe Giudice is not actually an American citizen which means he could be deported to Italy if convicted. The couple will be back in court on August 14 to be arraigned. Their lawyers say the couple plans to plead not guilty which means we could see a trial in the new year at the earliest. Among the charges the Giudices face, they are alleged by the government to have lied on their bankruptcy petition about their income from the Garden State version of the Bravo franchise. With perhaps the exception of the usual reunion special, it is unlikely that this reality will end up Real Housewives of New Jersey anytime soon. The show wrapped filming on its current fifth season months ago. The latest cycle debuted on June 2.
PREVIOUSLY, MONDAY PM: Reality stars Teresa and Giuseppe Giudice are about to get a courtroom reality check. The castmembers of Bravo‘s The Real Housewives Of New Jersey were indicted today on several federal charges that could see them behind bars for decades and having to pay millions in fines. The bulk of the 39 charges (read them here), which the duo will face in court tomorrow, stem from false income statements on loan and mortgage documents and failure to file tax returns before the Garden State version of the reality TV franchise debuted in May 2009. However, a portion of the 33-page indictment deals with the couple’s income from the first and second season of the show. Specifically, how the Giudices did not state the funds the received as required by law in their October 2009 bankruptcy petition. “From in or about June 2008 through the filing of the Bankruptcy Petition, defendant Teresa Giudice received income of approximately $110,677 from various sources, including her work as an actress on the television show The Real Housewives of New Jersey (the “Television Show”), sales from the tgfabulicious.com website, and payments from personal and magazine appearances,” says the filing of what is termed a scheme to defraud. “On or about June 5, 2009 and August 27, 2009, defendants Giuseppe Giudice and Teresa Giudice signed agreements in connection with then-upcoming Season Two of the Television Show whereby they would receive approximately $110,000 in compensation,” the Grand Jury indictment adds. Despite various hearings, documents and other disclosures, the couple left their TV income off the bankruptcy books.
Each of the six bankruptcy fraud charges carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. The financial tribulations of the Giudices, who with their daughters are one of the five families featured on Real Housewives Of New Jersey, have often been a part of the show. But such illegalities as revealed today have not. “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,” said Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey on Monday in a statement after the indictment was made public. Teresa Giudice’s attorney Henry Klingeman said in a statement of his own today that his client intends to plea not guilty in court tomorrow. Giuseppe Giudice is represented by attorney Miles Feinstein.