“Real Housewives of New Jersey” star (and I use the term lightly) Teresa Giudice and her husband, Joe, went to court today in Newark to answer an indictment issued Monday on federal fraud charges. “Today is a most difficult day for our family,” Giudice tweeted on Monday after the news broke. “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. Thank you all for your kind wishes, prayers and support.” The court visit didn’t last long. Joe and Teresa were freed on $500,000 bond each, reports AP. They had to surrender their passports and can’t travel outside of New Jersey and New York. They did not enter pleas.
Bravo, the cable channel that airs the “Real Housewives” franchise, has not commented on the indictment. The New Jersey series is in its fifth season. The Giudices are accused of defrauding lenders during bankruptcy proceedings. Prosecutors say the couple received about $4.6 million in mortgages, withdrawals from home equity lines of credit and construction loans. Joe also failed to file tax returns for the years 2004 through 2008. During that time his income is said to have fluctuated wildly; the indictment states he made $323,481 in 2005 and $26,194 in 2006, reports AP. Teresa Giudice’s attorney, Henry Klingeman, said she would plead not guilty. The couple could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted. And Joe, who is not a U.S. citizen, could be deported back to Italy.