Jacqueline Laurita Says Her Home is Not in Foreclosure; Jacqueline’s Business ‘JL Beauty Enterprises’ Could Have Huge Tax Debt (Updated 6/17/2013)
UPDATE 6/17/2013: TMZ reported that the Lauritas struck a deal with their bank and saved their mansion from foreclosure. “The Lauritas were sued by Hudson City Savings earlier this year. The bank claimed they missed a mortgage payment on her 5,600-square-foot crib — a cool $10,175. Here’s the kicker … under the housewife’s contract, one missed payment meant the bank could demand the entire balance owed, which it did. When the Lauritas couldn’t cough it up … HCS asked to foreclose. But good news … Jacqueline managed to strike a deal with the bank outside of court, and in return Hudson City Savings dropped the suit. The case was dismissed on April 17. Now if only that little tax problem could go away …”
On the morning of April 25, 2013, at 7:32 AM (15 minutes after this blog was published), Jacqueline Laurita tweeted that she is not rich nor is she broke, and implied that Autism treatments and therapies for her son Nicholas are causing financial distress for her family:
“Some say we are rich. Some say we are broke. We are not rich & we are not broke. We are doing ok. Autism treatments & therapies are very expensive ya know?”
According to TMZ on March 2, 2013, Jacqueline has a massive tax debt and owes the State of New Jersey $340,000. The tax debt of $340,000 is owed to the State of New Jersey, not the Federal government (IRS):
“The Garden State is picking a cat-fight with ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ star Jacqueline Laurita — claiming she needs to pay off a $340,000 tax bill … OR ELSE. The NJ Division of Taxation filed the tax lien against Jacqueline — who has been a regular on the show since season 1 — earlier this year for exactly $338,337.05. The docs don’t specify which year(s) Jacqueline allegedly racked up the debt, but if she doesn’t pay up soon, they could go after her assets. Jacqueline is not the only NJ housewife to botch her finances — her two nemesis on the show, Danielle Staub and Teresa Giudice, are both in the middle of a bankruptcy right now. Hey Bravo, maybe an episode called ‘The Girls Pay Their Bills’” is in order.”
A source close to Jacqueline says she owns her own business named JL Beauty Enterprises, which could be the cause of the Laurita’s huge tax debt owed to the State of New Jersey:
“Jacqueline should have never made comments about Teresa’s finances when she has issues. As for the tax lien, I wonder if this has to do with her business…JL Beauty Enterprises. I’m surprised she hasn’t commented about this twitter. Also, the years weren’t specified in docs as per TMZ. At any rate, she needs to pay her taxes like the rest of us. Jac started the company last year. She did tell someone on twitter she was making a million dollars. Tamara Tattles blogged about it. Not making excuses for her. This huge tax debt means the income was high. Can’t have it all.”
On September 2, 2012, Tamara Tattles published a Twitter direct message (DM) from Jacqueline to TeeCee66, where she claimed to be making over a million per year for endorsing products:
“I make over a million a year. I just love the [Acne] product. Besides the show, I have successful products out there that I don’t make known to the show to cheapen the brands. :0 I work too. I enjoy it.”
Perhaps one of the deals Jacqueline is referring to is her affiliation with Altruistic Beauty Medspa, which opens this fall in Oakland, NJ. According to Jacqueline’s biography on BravoTV’s website, Jacqueline is the owner of the spa, but the spa’s website suggests she is, at best, a celebrity partner:
“Aside from spending time with her family, Jacqueline continues her passion and career in the beauty industry as an owner of a beauty Medspa in Oakland, N.J. called, “Altruistic Beauty Medspa” that should be opening late summer/early fall 2013. The spa is dedicated to those who are unselfishly devoted to the welfare of others. This sanctuary is all about giving back [excerpt from Jacqueline’s biography on BravoTV’s website].”
Jacqueline is denying reports that her New Jersey home is in foreclosure. She told Tom Murro of FoxCT:
“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. My husband and I have ALWAYS filed and paid our taxes every year. We have NEVER evaded taxes. 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.”
However, according to TMZ on April 16, 2013, Jacqueline is being sued by Hudson City Savings Bank, and the bank is asking a judge for permission to foreclose on their home:
“A ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ star could be downgraded from ‘housewife’ to just plain old ‘wife’ … because a bank is trying to FORECLOSE on her mansion. Jacqueline Laurita is being sued by Hudson City Savings Bank. The bank claims Jacqueline took out a $1.6 million mortgage back in 2007 on a 5,600-square-foot pad, but in February 2012 failed to cough up the $10,175 monthly mortgage payment. Big mistake … according to the deal … if Jacqueline misses ONE payment the bank can demand the entire balance — which it did. The bank is now asking a judge for permission to foreclose on the home. It’s not Jacqueline’s only financial woe — the State of NJ says she still owes over $340,000 in unpaid taxes. If only she had a sex tape to hock.”
According to Zillow, a notice of lis pendends has been filed against the Laurita’s Franklin Lakes home — if a lis pendens is filed with the county recorder against a piece of property, this indicates that the house is already in some stage of the foreclosure process. The homeowners are no longer in the preforeclosure stage, or merely behind in payments.
One of the legal terms that homeowners in foreclosure often come across is lis pendens. They may initially find out about the term when attempting to refinance their house and the mortgage broker turns them down because of this type of document filed against the property. If a lis pendens has been filed, it will show up with the county recorder as a document affecting the title.
A lis pendens does not stop or prevent foreclosure at all, as it is merely a document serving notice upon any other party that is researching the particular property affected by the document. In most cases of a homeowner behind on the mortgage payments, the lender’s attorneys will file the initial foreclosure lawsuit with the court and a lis pendens will be sent to the county clerk or recorder’s office to indicate that a particular property is in the process of a pending litigation.
The term lis pendens is Latin for “lawsuit pending,” and the lawsuit that it is referring to is the legal process of foreclosure. If the lender was not suing for the property to be sold for payment of the defaulted mortgage loan, this document would never be filed in the first place, as no lawsuit would be pending.
In fact, a lis pendens specifically indicates that the property is facing foreclosure, and the document will show anyone, such as a title company or prospective foreclosure refinance lender, researching the real estate that it is involved in a lawsuit. So the lis pendens is meant to signify the foreclosure; it does nothing to prevent the foreclosure, but it does not itself affect the homeowners’ ability to save their home.
The most commonly used legal mechanism that would stop foreclosure is filing bankruptcy with the court, and even this only puts the process on hold while the creditor and debtor are coming to an agreement to negotiate a settlement of the debt.
Homeowners may also wish to consider getting rid of the lis pendens affecting their home by mounting a defense against the lawsuit that has led to the foreclosure process. This is a direct defense of the litigation, though, not an extra legal process like bankruptcy that may be used to put the suit on hold.
If a lis pendens is filed with the county recorder against a piece of property, this indicates that the house is already in some stage of the foreclosure process. The homeowners are no longer in the preforeclosure stage, or merely behind in payments. At this point, foreclosure can not prevented, as it is already being pursued by the lender and its attorneys — it must be stopped, and homeowners need to begin putting together a realistic plan and researching various ways to stop foreclosure, such as a mortgage modification, repayment plan, selling the house, or a foreclosure bailout loan.
The Lauritas were having financial issues at the same time as the Giudices. While RHONJ season 2 was taping:
- In September 2009, creditors of Chris and Joseph Laurita’s company, Signature Apparel, pushed the company into bankruptcy protection (the company had only been in operation since 2005).
- A month later, on October 29, 2009, the Giudices filed for bankruptcy protection.
It looks like Chris has formed several different LLCs to spread the money around for blk., just like he did with Signature Apparel and the Laurita Pyramid Companies (Pyramid Trading, Inc., Pyramid Trading Corp., Retail Solutions, Four Brothers Retail and Cool Five LLC). With the blk. venture, Chris already has more than one company name associated with it: including Blk Brands LLC and blk.beverages, LLC (there are probably others).
The Lauritas didn’t file bankruptcy protection – creditors of Signature Apparel filed an involuntary petition against Signature Apparel in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, seeking relief under chapter 7 of title 1 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The creditors forced the bankruptcy in hopes of getting restitution – basically going after the Laurita’s personally, and the other companies that they siphoned funds to (including Pyramid Trading, Inc., Pyramid Trading Corp., Retail Solutions, Four Brothers Retail and Cool Five LLC – collectively referred to as the “Laurita Pyramid Companies”).
The creditors of Signature Apparel are suing the Lauritas for “treating the assets of Signature Apparel as if those assets were Chris and his brother Joseph’s own personal assets – they wrongfully utilized and depleted the corporate assets of Signature to further their own individual financial interests.”
Chris and his brother Joseph each 50% owner/member of Signature Apparel LLC (which was formed in 2005 and went bankrupt in 2010), diverted funds from the company for personal expenses and transferred 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. Jacqueline is also named as a defendant in the case because she and other family members “accepted funds they knew belonged to Signature and for which they each knew they had performed no services and/or provided no value.”
From the original lawsuit filed on behalf of the creditors of Signature Apparel LLC against the Laurita brothers:
Chris Laurita and Joseph Laurita, in concert with one another, have wrongfully siphoned corporate funds from Signature which resulted in Signature becoming grossly undercapitalized to the point of financial extinction, while amassing personal assets for themselves and their family members.
To this day, Chris and Joseph, while claiming the financial crises of Signature, still drive luxurious vehicles, own buildings and residences and have assets which may be worth millions of dollars.
Signature was so controlled and dominated by Chris and Joseph, and its separate legal existence so ignored, that Signature primarily transacted the personal business of Chris and Joseph, and is therefore a mere instrumentality and the alter ego of Chris and Joseph.
Such control and domination has been exercised to commit fraud and engage in other wrongful conduct, which has resulted in an unjust financial loss and injury to Plaintiff.
As a matter of equity, the Plaintiff (Signature Apparel LLC) is entitled to pierce the corporate veil of the other Laurita companies, and to reach the assets of Chris and Joseph, jointly and severally, to satisfy any judgment obtained in this litigation.
Chris and Joseph failed to respect the separate legal existence of Signature Apparel LLC and the other Laurita companies [including Pyramid Trading, Inc., Pyramid Trading Corp., Retail Solutions, Four Brothers Retail and Cool Five LLC (collectively referred to as the “Laurita Pyramid Companies”), or to companies or business ventures in which Chris and Joseph were investing, including Angelo’s Favorite, The Hungry Ghosts Movie LLC, and the BSTC Group], and treated the assets of those companies as if those assets were Chris and Joseph’s own personal assets, including, by way of example:
- Using Signature funds to pay the personal expense of the other Laurita family members,
- Causing the diverted funds to be conveyed away from Signature to Pyramid Trading Inc. (another Laurita company),
- Making other fraudulent transfers to other Laurita companies, and
- Conveying the Rocawear and Artful Dodger Licenses to a third party while retaining for themselves a percentage of the gross fees received from those licenses.
Utilizing their position in Signature and the Laurita Pyramid Companies, Chris and Joseph, in concert with one another, have wrongfully utilized and depleted the corporate assets of Signature to further their own individual financial interests, in total disregard of the interests of Signature.
- From 9/5/2008 – 8/18/2009, within a year prior to the petition date, Joseph Laurita received a total of $873,689 in transfers of interests in Signature’s property.
- From 9/5/2008 – 8/14/2009, within a year prior to the petition date, Christopher Laurita received a total of $405,730 in transfers of interests in Signature’s property.
Joseph Laurita and Christopher Laurita, defendants in the case, are accused of:
- Draining the company of all its funds and assets in order to support their families’ increasingly opulent lifestyle of private jets, limousines, extravagant parties, premium automobiles, designer clothing, ostentatious home furnishings and lavish vacations.
- Using company funds for their own personal expenses, and making payments to themselves and their family members from company funds for amounts not owed to them by Signature.
Also named as defendants in the case are Jacqueline Laurita, Adeline Laurita (Joseph’s wife), and Anthony Laurita (Chris and Joseph’s brother).
- Chris and Joseph directed Signature to pay the expenses of and make payments to other companies owned, controlled by or affiliated with Chris Laurita and Joseph Laurita.
- Chris and Joseph improperly directed Signature’s vendors, including certain of the petitioning creditors, to make payments to certain of the Laurita’s other companies of funds that were rightfully owed to Signature. 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 the other Laurita family members (Jacqueline and other family members accepted funds they knew belonged to Signature and for which they each knew they had performed no services and/or provided no value). These payments totaled at least and no less than $7,086,013 (the “Fraudulent Transfers”). These improper payments have no legitimate business purpose, provided no value to Signature, and include:
* At least $1,994,845 for payments to 40 different credit cards for Laurita family members and the Laurita’s other companies
* At least $331,637 for payments on no less than eleven leased cars, including a Bentley and a Maserati
* At least $284,793 in airline travel expenses for the Laurita Family
* At least $145,894 for private airplane rentals for the Laurita Family
* At least $25,000 to Studio Dante, and off-Broadway theater company, for production expenses for the film ‘The Hungry Ghosts’
* At least $73,793 for taxi, limousine and car-service related expenses
* At least $16,951 for car rentals
* At least $5,813 in travel tolls
* At least $6,207 in car insurance premiums
* At least $28,711 for miscellaneous transportation-related expenses
* At least $7,280 for travel agent expenses for the Laurita Family
* At least $1,084 for train travel expenses
* At least $1,379,187 to Joseph Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $755,184 to Christopher Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $62,500 to Adeline Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $40,000 to Anthony Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $20,909 to Frank Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $4,860 for rent and utility expenses for 78 Valley Road in Connecticut, the site for Pyramid Trading (another Laurita company)
* At least $325,696 in payments to or on behalf of other entities owned or controlled the Lauritas
* At least $791,509 in payments to Roc Apparel Group LLC for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $784,160 of disbursements to unknown recipients, without any documentation whatsoever
These fraudulent transfers were made voluntarily with the actual intent to hinder, delay or defraud some or all of Signature’s then existing and/or future creditors.
Updates on the federal case against the Lauritas at the following link: