Reality TV Gets Real with New Jersey Housewife has Multiple Fraud Charges

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“Real Housewives of New Jersey” couple Teresa and Joe Giudice pled guilty to federal fraud charges in a Newark, New Jersey courthouse. According to reports for the Huffington Post, Teresa was “allegedly offered (a) plea deal to avoid jail time, but prosecution rejected it.” There were just under 50 counts of fraud between 2001 to 2008, before Teresa started filming the reality television show in 2009 for which she earns an estimated $600,000 a year. The Giudices are not only facing a bevy of charges, but are also facing jail time and other serious pending charges.

New Jersey city where NJ housewife faces fraud charges

New Jersey photo by David Merrett

Giudice Story

According to a report from the Los Angeles Times posted on March 4, 2014, The Giudices “face the reality of prison after pleading guilty on Tuesday to federal charges of committing a long-running financial fraud.” The article states that the two “entered their guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark.” Joe faces of 37 to 46 months in prison, while Teresa faces 21 to 27 months in prison for, in the words of District Attorney Paul J. Fishman, “using deception and fraud to cheat banks, bankruptcy court and the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).”

According to the LA Times article, “Giuseppe and Teresa Giudice engaged in a mail and wire fraud conspiracy in which they submitted fraudulent applications and supporting documents to lenders in order to obtain mortgages and other loans.” For mortgage and bankruptcy fraud charges in addition to failing to file taxes for 4 years, lying on bank loan applications, and hiding assets and income during bankruptcy proceedings the Giudices will serve jail time, will most likely have to pay fines, risk losing their business empire – or lose a major part of their audience, and Joe Giudice, an Italian resident, could face deportation.

Fraud Charges in New Jersey

In New Jersey, fraud charges vary depending on the type of fraud and severity of the offense. The Giudices’ charges are Federal, meaning that they may be subject to both the New Jersey and Federal recommended Sentencing Guidelines.

Here are a few examples of New Jersey fraud charges and their definitions:

• New Jersey Forgery Laws (N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1):

a. Forgery. A person is guilty of forgery if, with purpose to defraud or injure anyone, or with knowledge that he is facilitating a fraud or injury to be perpetrated by anyone, the actor:

(1) Alters or changes any writing of another without his authorization;
(2) Makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues or transfers any writing so that it purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act or of a fictitious person, or to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case, or to be a copy of an original when no such original existed; or
(3) Utters any writing which he knows to be forged in a manner specified in paragraph (1) or (2).

• Bad Checks (N.J.S.A. 2C:21-5):
A person who issues or passes a check or similar sight order for the payment of money, knowing that it will not be honored by the drawee, commits an offense as provided for in subsection c. of this section. For the purposes of this section as well as in any prosecution for theft committed by means of a bad check, an issuer is presumed to know that the check or money order (other than a post-dated check or order) would not be paid, if:

a. The issuer had no account with the drawee at the time the check or order was issued; or

b. Payment was refused by the drawee for lack of funds, or due to a closed account, after a deposit by the payee into a bank for collection or after presentation to the drawee within 46 days after issue, and the issuer failed to make good within 10 days after receiving notice of that refusal or after notice has been sent to the issuer’s last known address. Notice of refusal may be given to the issuer orally or in writing in any reasonable manner by any person.

c. An offense under this section is:

(1) a crime of the second degree if the check or money order is $75,000.00 or more;
(2) a crime of the third degree if the check or money order is $1,000.00 or more but is less than $75,000.00;
(3) a crime of the fourth degree if the check or money order is $200.00 or more but is less than $1,000.00;
(4) a disorderly persons offense if the check or money order is less than $200.00.
L.1978, c. 95, § 2C:21-5, eff. Sept. 1, 1979. Amended by L.1981, c. 290, § 22, eff. Sept. 24, 1981; L.2002, c. 65, § 1, eff. Aug. 14, 2002.

• Credit Card Fraud in New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6):

a. Definitions. As used in this section:
(1) “Cardholder” means the person or organization named on the face of a credit card to whom or for whose benefit the credit card is issued by an issuer.
(2) “Credit card” means any tangible or intangible instrument or device issued with or without fee by an issuer that can be used, alone or in connection with another means of account access, in obtaining money, goods, services or anything else of value on credit, including credit cards, credit plates, account numbers, or any other means of account access.
(3) “Expired credit card” means a credit card which is no longer valid because the term shown either on it or on documentation provided to the cardholder by the issuer has elapsed.
(4) “Issuer” means the business organization or financial institution, which issues a credit card or its duly authorized agent.
(5) “Receives” or “receiving” means acquiring possession or control or accepting a credit card as security for a loan.
(6) “Revoked credit card” means a credit card which is no longer valid because permission to use it has been suspended or terminated by the issuer.

b. False statements made in procuring issuance of credit card. A person who makes or causes to be made, either directly or indirectly, any false statement in writing, knowing it to be false and with intent that it be relied on, respecting his identity or that of any other person, firm or corporation, or his financial condition or that of any other person, firm or corporation, for the purpose of procuring the issuance of a credit card is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

Expungement for New Jersey Fraud Charges

It is important to note that there are many types of insurance fraud, and that the penalties very depending on the severity of the charge. Anyone with a New Jersey fraud charge on his or her criminal record is encouraged to employ the legal assistance of an expungement attorney. An experienced New Jersey expungement attorney will be able to help an individual convicted of a fraud charge to clear his or her criminal record, providing knowledge of the expungement laws in New Jersey. To see if you are eligible for expungement, you can take a free expungement eligibility test at