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New Jersey 'Housewives' star could claim innocent spouse defense

The former reality power couple, Joe and Teresa Guidice, has been out of the spotlight for quite some time. The criminal trial for the myriad of fraud accusations is supposed to take place this year. For the uninitiated, the couple starred on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” a reality show that followed several affluent women and their dealings with children, family and most importantly…each other.

The show took an ominous turn last year when Teresa and Joe were indicted on more than 30 counts of fraud, including mail fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud and bankruptcy fraud.  Many of the counts were based on federal prosecutors’ beliefs that the couple intentionally hid assets while seeking bankruptcy protection. If convicted, both could be subject to long prison sentences. 

However, rumors abound as to the couple’s latest trial strategy. It is speculated that the two will have separate trials and that Teresa will seek to claim the “innocent spouse” defense regarding the fraud charges (especially the tax and bankruptcy fraud claims).  Essentially, she will likely claim that she had no idea about the properties acquired were titled in her name, that she was unaware of misrepresentations on loan and credit applications, and that her name was signed on numerous documents without her knowledge.

It remains to be seen how successful the defense will be, and whether she will avoid jail time. Nevertheless, the story is an important reminder of the questions that should be asked during divorce proceedings in order to shield a spouse from a former spouse’s shady dealings. 

Source:, “Teresa Guidice and Joe’s new strategy for fraud trial,” January 18, 2014

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