Fans of the Bravo reality series "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" know Teresa Giudice and her husband, Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice, for their over-the-top and extravagant lifestyle.
Based on allegations contained in the 39-count federal indictment filed earlier this week, it seems the Guidices were indeed living well over their limit.
On Monday, the Guidices were charged in a conspiracy to defraud lenders and illegally obtain mortgages and other loans as well as allegedly hiding assets and income during a bankruptcy case.
The indictment charges the reality stars with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud. The Giudices are also accused of hiding assets and income during their 2009 bankruptcy case.
The Guidices face heavy fines and prison terms of up to 30 years.
But the author of the 'Fabulicious' cookbooks and mother of four girls faces an even less fabulous outcome than prison – the deportation of her husband, whom she fondly calls "Juicy Joe," to Italy. Unlike Teresa, Joe is an Italian citizen.
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"), a noncitizen convicted of certain crimes classified as an “aggravated felony” offense is deportable.
In Joe Guidice's case, the amount of the alleged tax fraud is nearly $1 million – more than enough to reach the threshold of an aggravated felony, which includes tax evasion with revenue loss to the government exceeding $200,000.
But deportation is not automatic.
Before the Guidices go to trial, the United States Attorney must file a notice of intent to request judicial deportation. At least 30 days prior to sentencing, the United States Attorney must also file a charge setting forth the citizenship of the defendant and identifying the crime that makes the defendant deportable.
If the defendant is convicted, the court may order deportation at sentencing if the Attorney General demonstrates that the undocumented immigrant is deportable under the INA. The INA recognizes certain exceptions to prevent the removal of an otherwise deportable noncitizen in compelling cases. However, it is not yet clear what, if any, exceptions would apply here.
After the Giudice indictment was returned, Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, said in a statement: "The privilege of living well in the United States carries certain real responsibilities, including filing tax returns when required and paying the correct amount of tax. That's reality!”
The arraignment is scheduled for August 14, 2013. The Guidices are expected to plead not guilty.