“Real Housewives” Star Heads to Prison for Mail Fraud Conviction

Mail Fraud, Tax Fraud Land “Real Housewives of New Jersey” Star in Prison

mail fraudAfter being convicted on mail fraud, tax fraud, and other fraud charges in a New Jersey state court, a former star of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” has reported to federal prison.

Teresa Giudice, a cast member of Bravo’s hugely popular reality television show, reported to a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut around 3 AM on Monday, January 5th. She and her husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice pleaded guilty to several fraud charges, including mail fraud and tax fraud, in March last year.

Although the couple initially pleaded not guilty to a laundry list of federal charges including bank fraud, wire fraud, and bankruptcy fraud in 2013, they changed their tune on Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 and pleaded guilty to several of the federal charges. They were sentenced in October, and Teresa will spend 15 months in federal prison. Joe will care for the couple’s four daughters while Teresa is in prison, and then begin his 41-month sentence when she is released.

The pair was accused of exaggerating income while paying loans before the hit reality television show premiered in 2009. Then, after the first season aired, they reportedly hid their fortune from the show, and filed for bankruptcy. They were also accused of filing fraudulent mortgage and loan applications, fabricating tax returns, and falsifying W-2 forms. In addition, Joe Giudice failed to file federal income tax for several years, beginning in 2004. Through fraudulent tax filings, Joe Giudice received $5 million in mortgages and construction loans – he pleaded guilty to tax fraud in the amount of $200,000 more.

Teresa reportedly spent her “last days of freedom” with her children, enjoying the Christmas season before serving her time for mail fraud and other federal charges.

Federal Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud Charges and Defense

The law broadly defines wire fraud as devising or intending to devise a scheme to defraud others of money or property under false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises by means of electronic communications, or “wires.” Because they typically involve interstate matters, most wire fraud cases are considered federal crimes with convictions carrying heavy fines, prison sentences of up to 20 years, or both.

The United States Code criminalizes, “any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses” involving the U.S. Mail system.

The problem with an allegation of mail fraud is that each act committed in a post office of taking out or putting in a letter that furthers the scheme, is a distinct and separate violation.  Accordingly, with a mass mailing, hundreds of violations may have been committed.

To secure a conviction of mail fraud, the government must establish that you used the US Postal System “for the purpose of executing” a fraudulent scheme. To prove their case, the government only needs to prove that the mailing was incidental to an essential part of the scheme.

Transferring money to an offshore or international bank may be legitimate and legal transactions; however, transferring money to an offshore or international bank account to hide a crime can lead to serious federal criminal charges.

Our federal criminal defense lawyers handle wire fraud cases involving:

  • Fraudulent insurance claims
  • Bond issuances and investment schemes
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Falsifying loan applications
  • Check fraud schemes
  • Bribes or kickbacks
  • False advertising or misrepresentation in sales transactions

The Strom Law Firm Defends Against Mail and Wire Fraud Allegations

As a former U.S. Attorney, Pete Strom handled these types of criminal fraud cases, from RICO violations to mail fraud and bank fraud. If you have been charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, RICO violations, or other federal charges, contact the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss the most effective defense to your case and how to avoid further personal and professional damage. We handle your case with utmost discretion, exploring every viable strategy to secure a most favorable outlook. 803.252.4800

Speak Your Mind