Fraud is often characterized as a type of white collar crime. However, the types of fraud, as well as the venues where the alleged activity may occur, can be quite varied. In today’s story, a defendant is accused of bankruptcy and mail fraud, as well as federal bank fraud.
Specifically, Teresa and Joe Giudice, of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” fame, are accused of fraudulent activity amounting to a 41-count indictment. Each has reportedly confessed to some wrongdoing, in order to benefit from a plea deal. As part of the deal, Joe Giudice confessed to avoiding almost $1 million in income taxes over a four-year period, from 2004 to 2008.
Notably, the penalties associated with the charges were quite severe. Teresa reportedly could have landed up to 27 months behind bars, while Joe was facing up to 48 months. Fines are also common to criminal penalties, and Teresa agreed to pay $200,000 in this instance.
Interestingly, however, each spouse had requested a separate trial from the other spouse. A criminal defense attorney knows that there can be strategic advantage to requesting bifurcation of issues at trial, of having separate counsel from a co-defendant, or even requesting separate trials. Such separation may prevent prosecutors from turning co-defendants against each other, or perhaps avoid conflicting testimony.
Although white collar crimes may not involve physical violence, the charges can be just as severe, especially when a criminal charge has multiple counts. The nature of the evidence is also slightly different from violent crimes. In some cases, investigators may have begun building their case for months before an arrest was made. That could mean wiretaps, observation, or reviews of financial information. An attorney can review that evidence to see if any defenses are available.