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New Jersey reality stars charged with bankruptcy fraud

Love them or hate them, Teresa and Joe Giudice of The Real Housewives of New Jersey have become famous faces of the Garden State -- at least to lovers of reality TV. But now the infamous celeb couple is making headlines beyond New Jersey.

They are charged with various counts of fraud and facing much more serious fights than the cat fights seen on their TV program. Among the criminal charges before them, Teresa and Joe are accused of falsifying information while filing for bankruptcy. They pleaded not guilty to that charge and other charges this week in court.

In total, the Giudices are charged with 39 counts of fraud. Of interest to readers of a bankruptcy blog, part of the criminal case against the duo is that they lied about their income and assets when they were in bankruptcy court in 2009.

The truth is important in bankruptcy cases because it gives the court the big picture of what bankruptcy candidates have versus what they owe. If lies are told and are not detected, approving a bankruptcy filing would mean that parties are getting away with not paying back their creditors when they might actually have the means to do so.

Whether the Giudices lied and knowingly did so is for the court to evaluate. Their plea of not guilty suggests that the reality celebrities didn't falsify information regarding their financial situation. Viewers of the New Jersey housewives installment might have reason to suspect the worse of the villain couple of the program, but a court of law shouldn't use the drama depicted on the Bravo program as reason to doubt the couple's credibility.

An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help ensure that his clients understand what is expected of them during the bankruptcy process and report all of the relevant financial information that would support their filing.

Los Angeles Times, "2 stars of 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' indicted on fraud charges," Michael Muskal, July 29, 2013

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