In the video above from April 2010 or earlier, Teresa Giudice gives a tour of her home and the furnishings (custom cabinets, Versace vases, Gucci dishes and glasses, etc.), much of which (including the renovation of the home), was purchased with borrowed money (allegedly obtained by defrauding lenders) rather than earned income (they tried to discharge their debt by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in October 2009 – the U.S. government has charged the Giudices with lying to the bankruptcy court, including hiding assets and income that could be used to pay off creditors).
Teresa likes nice things, which she is not ashamed to admit. She certainly didn’t back off on spending before or after filing bankruptcy on October 29, 2009. In the link below, the U.S. bankruptcy trustee claimed that Teresa went on a $60,000 shopping spree after filing bankruptcy (the PDF file below also includes a receipt for purchases she made about two months before filing):
The following is a CBS report about Teresa’s spending spree.
Bankrupt “Real Houswives” Star Teresa Giudice Reportedly Spent $60,000 on Furniture and Luxury Goods
August 18, 2010
Filing for bankruptcy didn’t stop “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice from doing what she does best – shopping.
The Bravo star, who owes creditors roughly $10.8 million with her husband Joe, allegedly spent $60,000 on home furnishings and luxury goods just days after filing for bankruptcy last October, according to court documents obtained by E! Online.
The couple’s lawyer, Jim Kridel, defended Giudice’s lavish shopping spree and said she didn’t do anything wrong.
“That was the money she earned as an advance for her book ‘Skinny Italian,’” Kridel told People magazine.”Since she earned it after the filing, she was absolutely free to spend it.”
Kridel added that Giudice needed to buy household necessities, but also acknowledged that her spending spree would “draw scrutiny.”
“She needed to re-buy furniture because she didn’t have any furniture in the house,” Kridel told People. “It’s a big house and she wanted furniture consistent with her style on the show. There is nothing wrong with doing that, except that it doesn’t look good for her to be doing it.”
Note from Fame: Teresa’s cookbook advances for Skinny Italian were prior to her bankruptcy filing; however, she failed to disclose this, as well as other income (including her Bravo raise for season 2), on her petition filed on October 29, 2009, which is why, in the federal indictment against the Giudices, counts 12-34 include bankruptcy fraud.
In October 2011, Jacqueline went off on Twitter, saying Teresa was laughing at beating the system and planning to file bankruptcy again:
In the video below is another flashback with Teresa, Caroline and Jacqueline, happily explaining how “the attention they get is always positive.”
For a final flashback, a week before Joe and Teresa filed bankruptcy on October 29, 2009, they celebrated their 10-year anniversary with a helicopter ride and diamonds. Teresa told Jacqueline, “I really want him to make it big.” Joe told Chris, “It ain’t like the money’s flowin’ like it yoos ta, ya know what I mean?”
Caroline Manzo predicted in a testimonial (TH) during season 4 episode 13 – which was taped in 2011 – that Teresa Giudice would leave her husband if he goes to prison and then she would write a tell-all book for the sole purpose of making money.
Joe Giudice Wants a Separate Federal Trial from Teresa and Says She Did Not Sign Nor Did She Have Knowledge of Misrepresentation on Loan Documents
On January 16, 2014, Celebuzz reported on court documents filed by attorneys for the Giudices. According to Celebuzz, in the documents it is clear that Joe wants to get Teresa off the hook, claiming that she had no knowledge of any alleged criminal activity in relation to the 41 counts of federal fraud against the couple and wants to testify to that effect, but only if he gets a separate trial. Joe plans on invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if they have a joint trial, which is set for April. From the Celebuzz report:
Joe’s legal eagles are arguing that he is entitled to his own trial to allow the mother-of-four to invoke her right to testify on her own behalf and allow her the right to choose not to testify against her husband.
“Without an order severing the trials, she is placed in the position of choosing to testify on her own behalf and against her husband, or not testifying at all,” per the docs.
But if there are two separate trials, he will testify about Teresa’s involvement (or lack thereof) in the alleged criminal activity.
This is what he plans on telling the court should he take the stand, according to the docs… and it’s pretty much what we expected he’d say all along:
- Teresa had no knowledge of any misrepresentation on loan and mortgage applications and lines of credit.
- Teresa was not aware that various properties and businesses were acquired in her name.
- Joe signed Teresa’s name on numerous occasions without her knowledge or permission.
- Joe’s former business partner signed Teresa’s name on docs, as did Joe’s attorney, again without her knowledge or authorization.
- And other people were aware that Teresa had not signed those docs.
He wants the U.S. Attorney’s indictment dismissed with prejudice (translation: the case would be over and no further action could be taken) because the defense claims there is not one single conspiracy as the prosecution alleges.
Joe would also like for certain charges of wire and bank fraud dismissed. For example, the alleged fraudulent loan applications filed between 2001 and 2005 due to the expired statute of limitations.
His defense team is also demanding the prosecution disclose all discovery, including any evidence of other crimes Joe has allegedly committed that will be produced at trial (like reports by any witnesses, etc.).
The hot-heated TV husband also wants the prosecution to provide access to the grand jury transcript “in order to determine whether grand jury abuses led to his indictment.”
And, last but not least, he wants a separate hearing to review all The Real Housewives of New Jersey takes and outtakes that attorneys plan on using against him to determine their “audibility and admissibility.”
The report doesn’t address the bankruptcy fraud charges, which I think are the most serious. Teresa signed the original bankruptcy filing plus later amendments and testified in bankruptcy court before she was denied a discharge of debt – in the federal indictment, she is charged with failure to disclose on her bankruptcy petition all her income and business interests (including her RHONJ season 2 salary increase, cookbook advances, website sales of her TG Fabulicious brand – which she trademarked in April 2009, before season 1 premiered – income from appearances and magazine stories/covers, income from rental properties, etc.) – she claimed in the bankruptcy filing that she was unemployed and stated that she “reasonably did not anticipate any increase or decrease in income within the year following their filing,” which was on October 29, 2009, during taping of season 2 (seven months later her first cookbook hit shelves).
“I own a lot of properties in my name.” – Teresa Giudice, Season 2 Episode 11 (Video)
When season 2 episode 11 premiered in July 2010, some questioned the honesty and integrity of Teresa’s cookbook because, while touring the pizza parlor during the episode, Juicy Joe asked her (to her obvious annoyance) if she’s ever made a pizza; she responded, “not from scratch,” and told him that she buys frozen dough to make her pizzas. However, she has a dough recipe in Skinny Italian for what she calls the “best crust in the world!”
The document submitted to the court states:
“Joe would also like for certain charges of wire and bank fraud dismissed. For example, the alleged fraudulent loan applications filed between 2001 and 2005 due to the expired statute of limitations.”
The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 (FERA), which Obama signed into law on May 20, 2009, gives the Justice Department the capability to prosecute mortgage fraud cases as bank fraud and to seek enhanced penalties under the mail and wire fraud statutes. It also extends the statute of limitations on mortgage fraud from 5 years to 10 years (and extends the prison sentence and increases the maximum fine), so loans taken out by the Giudices after 2002 would be subject to the fraud charges:
By amending the definition of “financial institution” to include a “mortgage lending business,” FERA gives the Justice Department the capability to prosecute mortgage fraud cases as bank fraud and to seek enhanced penalties under the mail and wire fraud statutes. As a result, convictions for mortgage fraud can now carry a 30-year maximum prison sentence or a maximum $1 million fine, or both. Even more importantly, mortgage fraud cases will now have a 10-year statute of limitations, as opposed to the 5-year statute of limitations for other frauds, which will give federal prosecutors much more time to develop such cases.
In comparison, there is only a five-year statute of limitations for securities fraud. In February 2013, regulators for the Securities and Exchange Commission argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that the five-year clock should begin when investigators first detect the crime, rather than when the alleged fraud occurred. On February 27, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the fraudsters and limited the authority of the SEC to seek civil penalties to five years from the time a securities fraud took place:
The nine-member court ruled by a unanimous vote that the five-year clock for the government to act on securities fraud begins to tick when the fraud occurs, not when it is discovered. Wednesday’s decision is a defeat for securities regulators, who would have benefited from a favorable ruling because it could have bought them more time to bring complex cases, including cases springing from the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
Of course, mortgage fraud committed by individuals has a longer statute of limitations than securities fraud committed by the rich and powerful on Wall Street!
Jacqueline Laurita’s home in Franklin Lakes, NJ was put on the market on January 5, 2014 for $2,850,000. Before Chris married Jacqueline in 2002, he purchased the home on November 30, 2001 for $1,720,000 – the home is still in his name only. The home was last assessed in 2013 for $2,199,200 with yearly taxes of $34,242.
Perhaps the Lauritas are selling their home due to financial distress, or maybe they are trying to liquidate their assets before the case against them concerning their bankrupt business, Signature Apparel, goes to trial.
1. In 2005, Chris and his brother Joseph formed a clothing company called Signature Apparel. In September 2009, the company’s creditors pushed the company into bankruptcy protection. The company’s creditors accused the Laurita brothers of diverting funds from the company for personal expenses and transferring company funds to family members and other family businesses, draining the company so dry that it was an empty shell and creditors couldn’t be paid. A lawsuit filed against the Lauritas by the company’s creditors is still pending. In the complaint, the trustee appointed to handle the interests of Signature Apparel’s creditors claims that they are entitled to pierce the corporate veil of the other Laurita companies, and to reach the personal assets of Chris and Joseph, to satisfy any judgment obtained in the litigation because:
- Chris and Joseph directed Signature to pay the expenses of and make payments to other companies owned, controlled by, or affiliated with them. Those payments totaled at least and no less than $718,214 and further depleted Signature’s assets.
- Chris and Joseph directed Signature to pay the personal expenses of and make outright payments to themselves and other Laurita family members. These payments totaled at least and no less than $7,086,013 (the “Fraudulent Transfers”). These improper payments have no legitimate business purpose and provided no value to Signature.
2. In January 2014, NorthJersey.com reported that the Internal Revenue Service placed federal tax liens on all the Laurita’s properties for unpaid taxes totaling almost $95,000.
3. In April 2013, tabloids reported that the Lauritas owed $340,000 in back taxes. When Jacqueline addressed the issue, she identified the back taxes as being owed to the IRS rather than the state of New Jersey, which has led to confusion:
“The $340k was from a tax audit in 2006 in which about 1/2 of that was added interest. We have been disputing this because we didn’t think it was fair to pay so much interest on something that we didn’t even know we owed until recently. The IRS is currently working with us to lower the amount owed and once that new amount is decided we will, of course, pay the amount.”
Jacqueline elaborated by stating that she and Chris filed tax returns and paid their taxes every year:
“My husband and I have ALWAYS filed and paid our taxes every year. We have NEVER evaded taxes.”
4. In April 2013, tabloids reported that the Laurita’s home was in pre-foreclosure. According to NorthJersey.com, they faced a foreclosure filing in early 2013 by Hudson City Savings Bank, but the Paramus-based lender withdrew the action in April, after the matter was “amicably adjusted.”
At the time, Jacqueline insisted that her home was not in foreclosure:
“Thank you for all who were concerned, but my house is NOT in foreclosure. We simply modified our mortgage which is a process. Our mortgage modification has been approved and all is good.”
A mortgage modification is done by the bank to help struggling homeowners who can’t pay their mortgage – it is an attempt to avoid foreclosure by lowering the monthly payments; it is NOT a refinance, which a lot of people do when interest rates go down. An assignment of rent is done when a mortgaged property is being rented – it ensures the bank can collect the rent directly from the tenants if the mortgage holder can’t pay the monthly mortgage.
5. The Lauritas and Manzos made it perfectly clear during season 4 episode 12 (a giant infomercial) that they have everything riding on the success of blk. – Chris Laurita had more screen time than Jacqueline in episode 12 and he did confessionals (THs) in season 4 looking rather depressed and saying things like “this has to work,” as if blk. was their last hope. During season 5, the Lauritas and Manzos heavily marketed blk. in conjunction with their promotion of the charity, Autism Speaks [Autism Speaks purposely misstates finances on their website and misleads donors – in 2011, they spent only 32% of funds raised on programs and services but state on their website that they spent 74%]. Also, during season 5, Caroline said that neither Albie or Christopher, who work with their uncle Chris Laurita to market blk., had received a paycheck from the business venture.
The following are details about the listing for the Laurita’s home at 322 Waterview Dr. in Franklin Lakes, NJ.
Originally Received: 1/5/2014
Year Built: 2001
Total Square Feet: 5,674
Lot Size: 1.75 acres
Total Bedrooms: 6
Total Bathrooms: 6
Full Bathrooms: 5
Partial Bathrooms: 1
Fireplace(s): 1 FPL
Attached Garage: Yes
Garage Description: 3+CAR, ATTACHED
Garage Spaces: 3+
Heating Type: BASEBOARD, CENT AIR, GAS, HOT WATER, RADIANT
Basement Desc.: REC RM, BTH, OFFICE, WINE CELLAR, CARD RM, WALK OUT, UTILITIES
Description from Zillow:
First time offered for sale by the original owners as seen on the TV show The Real House Wives of New Jersey. This 6 bedroom 5 1/2 bath Granite and Stucco manor home with 4 car heated garage is located in South Gate Urban Farms on 1.75 acres with Limestone walk ways. This custom built home greets you with a 2 story entry foyer, large dining room with moldings/hand painted murals, library with custom wood work, 2 story great room with custom molding/fireplace/wet bar done by Salerno, Salerno kitchen with commercial range/wine fridge/large walk in pantry, breakfast area, master suite with 2 large walk in custom closets, gym, all bedrooms have custom built closets, finished walk out basement with play room/wine cellar/card room/office/full bath, newer deck with outdoor kitchen, security system with cameras/night vision, whole house wired with stereo system including outside, radiant heat in entry foyer/great room/kitchen/master bath. Pool plans available for buyer.
For more photos, click on the image or link below (14 photos in total).
Hat Tip: Thanks for the tip runtheball!