Teresa Giudice, one of the stars of "The Real Housewives Of New Jersey", was released on $500,000 bond today after she and her husband Joe were charged with 39 counts of fraud.
The Giudices are accused of falsifying loan documents to inflate their income before the show began airing in 2009 and of lying about their new income in order to file for bankruptcy after the show became a hit. The charges include conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud, and although they have not entered a plea yet, Teresa's lawyer says she'll likely plead not guilty. Two of the more serious charges--bank fraud and loan application fraud--carry penalties of 30 years in prison (maximum) and a $1 million fine.
In addition to the fraud charges, Joe is accused of not filing tax returns for four consecutive years, during which he reportedly made about $1 million. Teresa released a statement on Monday regarding the family's new drama, saying, "Today is a most difficult day for our family. I support Joe, and as a wonderful husband and father I know he wants only the best for our lovely daughters and me. I am committed to my family and intend to maintain our lives in the best way possible, which includes continuing my career. As a result, I am hopeful that we will resolve this matter with the Government as quickly as possible."
The Giudices have faced quite a bit of drama in recent years, both on and off the show. Teresa has had all-out wars with several cast members--who are also members of her family--and dealt with rumors of Joe's infidelity, her supposedly crumbling marriage, and the aftermath of their bankruptcy filing in a very public way, often appearing on magazine covers for several weeks in a row.