'Real Housewives' stars plead not guilty

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by Associated Press

Associated Press

Posted on November 20, 2013 at 8:06 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 20 at 2:37 PM

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Two cast members of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" have pleaded not guilty to two fraud charges.

The charges against Giusepppe "Joe" and Teresa Giudice came on top of a 39-count federal indictment filed against the couple in July.

The Giudices pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court in Newark to one count of bank fraud and one count of loan application fraud.

Authorities allege the couple prepared a mortgage loan application stating that Teresa Giudice worked as a real estate agent and made $15,000 a month. In reality, authorities said she was not employed.

The charges each carry a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Lawyers for the pair entered not-guilty pleas for their clients, who each wore a gray suit to the short proceeding.

The couple pleaded not guilty in July to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud. Authorities allege the couple at times submitted fraudulent W-2 forms and tax returns while applying for loans.

Joe Giudice also was accused of failing to file tax returns from 2004 to 2008. He also faces state charges that he fraudulently tried to obtain a driver's license in a separate case.

Authorities said the couple, known for their lavish lifestyle on the show, inflated their worth before the show then hid their increasing fortunes with a bankruptcy filing.

The couple did not comment to reporters while leaving court. Teresa Giudice's lawyer, Henry Klingeman, declined to comment.

A lawyer for Joe Giudice, Miles Feinstein, said the Giudices maintain their innocence. Their trial was expected to start at the end of February, but Feinstein said it likely will be delayed.

Feinstein said he does not know what effect the housewives show will have on a potential jury pool. He said the Giudices are doing "as best as possible," and are concerned about their four young daughters.

"It's a worrisome situation," Feinstein said.

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