Real Housewives Star Teresa Giudice Denied Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge

Previously I covered the filing of a chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009 for Real Housewives of New Jersey start Teresa Giudice. It’s been quite a while so I thought I’d drop back in to see what’s been going on in the case.

Looks like the court, in a somewhat rare move, has agreed to waive Teresa from relief of her debts under bankruptcy. – Source

According to information, Teresa neglected to tell the court when she filed some critical information that later came back to bite her. For those familiar with the show, I feel the need to throw over a table right about now.

Documents state when Teresa and her husband filed for their chapter 7 bankruptcy they omitted information about their bank accounts, vehicles, and interest in intellectual property. After a request from the court in late 2009, they amended their original bankruptcy filing to include undisclosed properties, checking account, three businesses, three vehicles and a boat. They also then added a leased 2005 Maserati Quattroporte.

In March, 2010 they filed yet another amended set of documents. This time they listed $89,254.81 which attributable to consumer credit cards and store credit at Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom.

On April 23, 2010 Teresa was questioned regarding her bankruptcy filing. More information emerged.

Teresa testified that she has a bank account with Lakeland Bank, and she is the only person with signature authority on that account, that she owned a previously undisclosed business by the name of TG Fabulicious, LLC, of which she is the sole member, and she had a previously undisclosed deal with Hyperion, an imprint of Buena Vista Books, Inc., to publish a previously undisclosed cookbook titled “Skinny Italian.”

Teresa’s husband Joe (Giuseppe) was questioned at the same time and apparently he remembered some additional details as well. Joe admitted that prior to his employment with G&G Stucco & Stone Specialist, Inc., for a three- to four-year period beginning in 2005 he withdrew funds from his LLCs as needed.

He also said he signed a mortgage application dated July 23, 2008, which indicated that he received $54,269 in monthly income from “G&G Stucco & Stone” and that the IRS informed him “three or four or five months ago” that the purported 2006, 2007, and 2008 individual income tax returns, which had previously been presented to the Case Trustee, were never actually filed. Oops.

Joe also recalled he was the sole member of a previously undisclosed business named 1601 Maple Avenue Associates, LLC, which owns a parcel of real estate in Hillside, NJ, and collects rents from two commercial businesses operating at that location.

The bankruptcy trustee filed a lawsuit against Teresa and her husband claiming that they had knowingly and fraudulently made false statements under oath. Additionally, that their original bankruptcy filing was not even close to being a full disclosure.

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For example, Teresa’s “Skinny Italian” book deal with Hyperion was dated October 22, 2009, approximately one week prior to the bankruptcy petition date, and was signed by Teresa on November 18, 2009, but the $250,000 advance owed slipped her mind.

Statements of Roberts DeAngelis, United States Bankruptcy Trustee

The original Schedule B, which the Defendants attested under penalty of perjury was true and correct, failed to disclose Defendant husband’s bank account, two pieces of real property, the Defendants’ vehicles, the Defendant wife’s pending book deal, and certain business interests including TG Fabulicious, LLC and 1601 Maple Avenue Associates, LLC.

The original Schedule I, which the Defendants attested under penalty of perjury was true and correct, stated that Defendant wife was unemployed with no likelihood of an increase in income in the near future, and understated her true income.

The Defendants knew that the information contained in their originally- filed Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs was not true and correct.

Even after multiple amendments to their Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs, the Defendants still have not filed any amendments disclosing the existence of the book “Skinny Italian,” the Defendant wife’s publishing deal with Hyperion, the Defendant wife’s interest in TG Fabulicious, LLC, and the Defendant husband’s interest in 1601 Maple Avenue Associates, LLC.

The Defendant wife testified at the Meeting of Creditors that she does not have any interests in any businesses, which was a false oath in light of her subsequent disclosure of her ownership of TG Fabulicious, LLC.

The Defendant husband testified at the Meeting of Creditors that the filings with the Court had disclosed all of his business interests, which was a false oath in light of his subsequent disclosure of his interest in 1601 Maple Avenue Associates, LLC.

The Defendants’ initial and amended Schedule I indicated that the Defendant wife had no income on the petition date other than income from Sirens Media, which was a false oath in light of documents indicating that she had pre-petition income from operations of TG Fabulicious, LLC.

The Defendants intentionally did not disclose the existence of the undisclosed assets in order to conceal their existence from creditors and the Case Trustee.

As a result, the Defendants have knowingly and fraudulently made false oaths in this case in the form of false statements on sworn documents filed with the Court and false sworn testimony provided at the Meeting of Creditors.

Wherefore, the UST respectfully requests that this Court enter judgment denying the Defendants’ discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(4)(A) and providing for such other relief as is just.

The contract between Defendant wife and Hyperion indicates that, during the year preceding the filing of the petition, the Defendant wife was in negotiation of a book publishing deal for which she was to receive a $250,000 initial advance, a $30,000 additional advance, and royalties based on sales of her cookbook “Skinny Italian.”

The certificate of formation and Lakeland Bank statements for TG Fabulicious, LLC indicate that, during the year preceding the filing of the petition, the Defendant wife owned and operated a business that had a bank account into which over $100,000 was deposited in the six months preceding the petition.

Since the petition was filed, the book publishing deal with Hyperion was signed, the cookbook “Skinny Italian” was released, and, upon information and belief, the initial $250,000 advance was paid to the Defendant wife.

In addition, the Lakeland Bank account statements produced by the Defendants reveal that TG Fabulicious, LLC had total deposits of over $190,000 during the first three months after the petition was filed.

The Defendants presented documents to the Case Trustee that purported to be their 2006, 2007, and 2008 individual income tax returns.

However, upon information and belief, the Defendants have not filed individual income tax returns for several years. – Source

And in the end, Teresa’s bankruptcy discharge was denied, withdrawn or waived. She fair game for her creditors again.

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