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'Real Housewives' stars plead not guilty to latest fraud charges

By David Jones

NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - "Real Housewives of New Jersey" cast members Teresa and Giuseppe (Joe) Giudice pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to two counts of loan fraud, part of a slew of federal charges they face for what prosecutors say was years of lying on financial applications and hiding income.

The newest charges stem from the couple allegedly making a false claim eight years ago that Teresa had a job as a real estate agent making $15,000 a month, prosecutors said. She was not employed outside the home, according to prosecutors.

The Towaco, New Jersey, couple already faces 39 criminal counts, accusing them of federal bank and loan application fraud and other charges, filed in July.

They are accused of submitting fraudulent mortgage and other loan applications from 2001 to 2008 and then, after filing for bankruptcy in 2009, concealing income that Teresa earned from the reality television show.

The Giudices have appeared in five seasons of the show on the Bravo channel. In one episode, Teresa Giudice paid $120,000 in cash to furnish a room in their house.

Prosecutors said the couple also hid rental income and concealed various businesses they controlled.

The husband is accused as well of failing to file federal tax returns from 2004 to 2008, during which time he earned more than $996,000, prosecutors said.

The newest counts each carry the possibility of 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines. Giuseppe Giudice, an Italian citizen, could face deportation if convicted.

The couple pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges on August 14.

A trial date has not yet been set but may be scheduled for April, according to one of the defense attorneys.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Gunna Dickson)

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