Going just by the look of The Real Housewives of New Jersery, money is no object for the ladies who have agreed to have their dramatic ups and downs chronicled for all to see.
But we certainly know by now that isn't the case.
In what is only the latest money-related embarrassment to afflict a Real Housewives household, Teresa Giudice and hubby Joe find themselves accused of, among other things, fudging the true state of their financial affairs on loan applications and in their 2009 bankruptcy filing, while Joe is also accused of failing to report roughly $1 million in income to the IRS.
A 39-count federal indictment was handed down on Monday, carrying with it the weight of a maximum of 50 years in prison should they be convicted on all charges.
While pretty much every U.S. resident, regardless of income, will shake a fist at the IRS at some point in life, the Giudices are feeling the burn from one of the higher tax brackets possible. And their celebrity status didn't exactly help keep them off of the government's radar, either.
But what sort of money are we really talking about here? Here's a breakdown of what Teresa and Joe say that they've been raking in—and shelling out—over the years:
Earning Power: When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in October 2009, Teresa and Joe reported that they were only making $79,000 a year from business ventures (Teresa actually listed herself as "unemployed"), with the missus pulling in $3,333 per month from Bravo and Joe making $3,250 a month from his construction company. They also listed another $10,000 "in monthly assistance from family members."
Uncle Sam's Side of the Story: Joe Giudice is facing five counts of failing to file tax returns on $1 million in income earned between 2004 and 2008. And federal prosecutors allege that the couple fraudulently acquired $4 million in loans between 2001 and 2008 because they provided false information during the application process.
Plastic Doesn't Make Perfect: They stated in their filing that they owed more than $10.8 million to creditors. Their expenditures included:
• $104,000 owed on eight credit cards, including $19,700 racked up at Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom
• $85,000 in home repairs
• $91,000 to build the new mansion they were seen decorating on the first season of RHNJ that ended up in danger of being foreclosed upon
• $1,280 a month for their Cadillac Escalade
• $12,000 for "medical services" received at North Hudson IVF, a fertility clinic
• $2,300 for the phone bill
Living Lite: Per Forbes, the Giudices claimed $24,500 in personal property in their 2009 filing, including costume jewelry worth $750. Despite the as-seen-on-TV shopping sprees, the couple claimed to spend $400 a month on clothes for their family of six and had a wardrobe they estimated was worth $3,000.
Homeowner Blues: Teresa and Joe claimed property worth $2.2 million, according to Forbes, but said that claims against those properties amounted to more than $2.5 million. Per the New York Post, at the time of the bankruptcy filing, the bank was poised to foreclose on the $1.8 million, 10,500-square-foot mansion they were seen moving into during season one. The bank had already taken back the family's four-bedroom home on the Jersey Shore after they ran up a tab of $325,000 on three mortgages and a home in Lincoln Park, N.J., after they racked up four mortgages and $600,000 in debt. A Clifton, N.J., property was returned to lenders after they ended up $1 million in the hole on payments.
The Old Ball and Chain: In the bankruptcy filing, Joe listed business investments to the tune of $5.8 million.
Fortunate One: Since pulling the plug on their bankruptcy proceedings in 2011, all signs seemed to point to a sunnier financial outlook for the Giudice family. Fast-forwrd to today, and Teresa has put out several cookbooks, created her own line of cocktails, launched her Milania hair care line and appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice. And, of course, Real Housewives soldiers on.
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