On behalf of Hochglaube & DeBorde Law Firm posted in Fraud on Monday, January 27, 2014.
In July, “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice and her husband Joe Giudice were indicted on 41 counts of fraud that allegedly took place between 2001 and 2011. Federal prosecutors claim the couple used false income documentation to obtain almost $5 million in mortgages and loans. Then, when the couple filed for bankruptcy in 2009, they allegedly hid their income from the show and other businesses from the bankruptcy court.
They are charged with mail, wire, bank and bankruptcy fraud, and Joe Giudice is accused of failure to file five years’ of tax returns. They are scheduled for trial on April 14 -- but each has filed a motion asking to be tried separately.
As fans here in Texas may know, Joe Giudice is an Italian citizen. Unfortunately, that means he risks not only a lengthy federal prison sentence but also deportation should he be convicted.
According to Joe Giudice’s motion, it was he, his attorney and his business partner who were responsible for the allegedly fraudulent activities, if indeed they constituted fraud. He claims that the three even signed Teresa Giudice’s name on numerous occasions -- with the full knowledge of bank representatives and others. He asserts that Teresa “had no knowledge of any misrepresentation” and wasn’t even aware of the businesses and properties that were acquired in her name.
He filed his motion for a separate trial, he says, because he wants to testify on her behalf but also wants to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination -- and he can’t do both if they are tried together. It wouldn’t be fair for his wife, he says, if his taking the Fifth hampered her defense.
For her part, Teresa Giudice would like a separate trial so she can testify on her own behalf but assert marital privilege to avoid testifying against Joe. The marital privilege is traditional in our system of justice, but over time the federal courts have sharply limited its breadth. Teresa’s marital privilege claim may not succeed in either case.
Whether you’re a celebrity or not, the mere fact you’re facing federal fraud charges is enough to damage your personal and professional reputation. A conviction can mean years or decades in federal prison, along with far-reaching consequences such as risk to your immigration status. If you learn you are under investigation for any federal crime, hire an attorney immediately.
Source: The Record, “'Real Housewives of New Jersey' Teresa, Joe Giudice want separate trials,” Peter J. Sampson, Jan. 23, 2014