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'Real Housewives' couple indicted on federal white-collar crimes

Anyone who has ever applied for a loan, especially a home loan, may understand that the process can involve a lot of paperwork. The federal government believes that television reality star Teresa Guidance and her husband Giuseppe, who is also known as Joe, submitted false information in seeking to obtain mortgages and other types of loans dating back to 2001. Our Columbia, Missouri, area readers may recognize the name from the Bravo “Real Housewives” franchise.

The feds claim that the Ms. Guidice forged W-2 Forms and pay stubs nearly a dozen years ago to falsely support her assertion that she was employed as an executive assistant for the purposes of obtaining home loan. By 2009, the couple sought bankruptcy protection, and the feds claim that the Guidices hid information from the Bankruptcy Court as the case progressed.

Federal prosecutors have obtained an indictment alleging that the couple has committed a series of federal white-collar crimes. The 39-count indictment includes allegations of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and bankruptcy fraud. Authorities further claim that Mr. Guidice earned a significant amount of money without properly filing his taxes from 2004 to 2008.

In all, many federal charges can pile up and each of the two accused of white-collar offenses in the indictment could be facing decades in federal prison. Mind you, the charges handed down in late July remain as federal allegations and the prosecutors have not proven any of the allegations in the federal criminal proceedings.

Among the allegations is the idea that the two conspired to commit mail and wire fraud. Mail or wire fraud charges are frequently alleged when the government seeks charges for an alleged financial crime. Mail fraud or wire fraud charges can apply to many different types of conduct so long as the government alleges that a person used the mail or some kind of wire communication in a fraudulent scheme to obtain property or services from another person or entity.

We live in an electronic world and wire communications are commonly used in transacting just about any kind of business deal. The mails are frequently used to transfer documents and materials as well. But, use of these avenues of transferring information alone does not reduce the government’s burden to prove all of the elements of an alleged crime. A person accused of a white-collar offense can face significant prison time and should consider seeking the assistance of legal counsel as soon as possible when allegations surface.

Source: The Star-Ledger, “'Real Housewives' stars Teresa and Joe Giudice charged with fraud, feds say,” Jason Grant, July 29, 2013

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