Reality television stars charged with fraud plead not guilty

Facing fraud charges can seriously damage an ordinary person's reputation. For people who are in the spotlight already, the damage can be magnified. Consider, for example, the recent case of two reality television stars who are now facing federal fraud charges.

Auto and Multnomah, Oregon, residents may be familiar with Guiseppe "Joe" Giudice and his wife, Teresa, who are stars of the reality television series "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." In addition to being on the hit television show, Teresa has also used her new-found fame to sell cookbooks and a specialty food line. The couple, known for their expensive taste on the show, has been charged with bank fraud and mail and wire fraud, among other crimes.

Prosecutors are contending that Joe Guidice failed to file tax returns between 2004 and 2008. The couple is also facing accusations of submitting false loan and mortgage applications as well as fraudulent tax returns and W2 forms. If charged, the couple faces millions of dollars in fines as well as hundreds of years in prison because of possible consecutive sentences, although this may be reduced under federal sentencing guidelines. During the court proceedings, the couple kept silent and entered their not guilty pleas through their attorneys.

The reality stars have been having financial trouble since 2009. They filed for bankruptcy the same year, claiming they had debts amounting to $11 million. Those include almost $12,000 to a fertility clinic and just over $2 million in mortgage loans.

An Auto or Multnomah, Oregon, resident who has been accused of fraud should bear in mind that he or she is innocent until proven guilty. It is the burden of the prosecution to prove the validity of the charges. Even if the odds may seem like they are not in favor of the accused, having a strong and compelling defense may help to make a plea agreement and possibly get the charges reduced or dismissed.


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