By Emily Flitter
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Prosecutors on Monday accused “Real Housewives of New Jersey” stars Teresa and Joe Giudice of lying eight years ago when they claimed on loan applications that Teresa was a realtor, not a housewife.
A federal grand jury in Newark, New Jersey, added two new counts to the long list of fraud charges against the husband and wife, prosecutors said.
The Giudices, who have appeared in five seasons of the TV reality show on the Bravo channel, were charged with new counts of bank fraud and loan application fraud, bringing the number of counts against them to 41.
Prosecutors first accused the Giudices on July 29 of submitting fraudulent applications to obtain mortgages and other loans, concealing income and failing to pay taxes.
The charges alleged that from 2001 to 2008, the couple submitted fraudulent loan applications and then, after filing for bankruptcy in 2009, concealed income that Teresa, 41, earned from the TV show. The Giudices were accused of hiding rental income and concealing various businesses they controlled, according to the indictment.
Joe, who is 43 and whose legal first name is Giuseppe, was also 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 deportation if convicted.
The Giudices pleaded not guilty in federal court in Newark on August 14.
According to Monday’s announcement, the two new charges relate to a mortgage loan Teresa took out in 2005 for $361,250. On the loan application, according to prosecutors, Teresa and Joe falsely stated that Teresa was a realtor with a monthly salary of $15,000. In fact, according to prosecutors, she was a housewife “not employed outside the home at the time.”
“As she did with respect to the allegations contained in the original indictment, Teresa intends to plead not guilty to the allegations in the new indictment,” Teresa Giudice’s lawyer, Henry Klingeman, said in a statement to the press.
“She looks forward to defending herself at the trial, scheduled for February 24, 2014. Beyond that, we will answer all of the charges in court, not out.”
Joe Giudice’s lawyer Miles Feinstein said his client would also plead not guilty. “I feel it’s really piling on at this stage to have additional charges,” he added.
A spokesman for Comcast’s NBC Universal, which owns the Bravo channel, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The case is U.S. v. Giudice et al, U.S. District Court, New Jersey, No. 13-cr-00495.