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Fraud charges: New Jersey reality star may be in real trouble

Although reality shows garner sizable ratings every week, viewers may be skeptical about the comlpete authenticity of events on each program. However, one reality TV star is facing very real challenges from federal authorities. Teresa and Joe Giudice, cast members of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," are currently facing 39 counts of federal fraud charges. 

According to authorities, the couple submitted fraudlent loan applications over the course of seven years. In addition to being accused of making false claims about their income, the couple was also charged for false statements in bankruptcy court and failing to file tax returns. Recently, Teresa and Joe made the decision to plead not guilty to these charges.

The Giudices acknowledged how difficult the criminal allegations have been for the family, but they hope that their reputation is cleared in the forthcoming trial. Although it may not always be easy to relate to celebrities all of the time, this case shows that criminal charges are disruptive and complicated -- regardless of whether or not a person is famous.

Prosecutors are particularly aggressive about pursuing white collar crimes, so being indicted may seem like an uphill battle. In any case, it's important that every accused person has his or her day in court. Even though media reports may frame a story as though conviction is assured, defendants are assumed innocent until proven otherwise.

As the Giudice case moves forward, the hope is that they will be able to present a defense that will help to clear the air. An acquittal will allow the couple and their family to move forward.

Source: The Associated Press, "'Real Housewives' star to plead not guilty in NJ," Katie Zezima, July 29, 2013

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