The Laurita Bankruptcy has been a source of speculation since it’s inception. Faux Reality has not addressed the Laurita financial or legal issues on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. In reality, the Lauritas are in the middle of an incredibly ugly and combative struggle for survival. Creditor’s of Signature Apparel (Laurita’s company) allege they are owed in excess of $55,000,000, it is further alleged that the Lauritas drained Signature Apparel of it’s assets and fraudulently diverted the funds for their personal use.
The only meaningful articles concerning Laurita’s plight have been found on StoopidHousewives who reported the filing against the Lauritas, the admissions of fraud (by letter dated July 7, 2012, Chris Laurita admitted that he was not candid with the Court regarding the termination date of the $2.8 million dollar agreement with ROC Fashion) and the continued battle.
Jacqueline Laurita has been asked about the bankruptcy on two occasions: on Watch What Happens Live and at the reunion. Both times, her response was exactly the same, a canned answer that while technically correct, is false in it’s omissions. Jacqueline indicated that the bankruptcy is not a personal bankruptcy, it was a forced bankruptcy filed by the creditors against the company, Signature Apparel Group to recoup their money. PARTIALLY TRUE
Jacqueline failed to disclose that Signature Apparel was forced into bankruptcy based upon allegations that, among other things, the Lauritas fraudulently diverted funds from the company for their personal use in excess of $7,000,000. (Case No. 09-15378)
The Court was compelled to appoint a Trustee, accountants, and attorneys for the protection of the creditors. On November 3, 2010, the Trustee filed a Complaint against Christopher Laurita, Jacqueline Laurita, Joseph Laurita, Adeline Laurita and Anthony Laurita alleging fraudulent transfers of funds and asked that the Lauritas be held accountable due to fraud, embezzlement and/or larceny. (Case No. 10-04207)
The Complaint states that Signature Apparel was founded in 2005 by brothers Chris and Joseph Laurita. Shortly after it’s inception, the Laurita brothers drained Signature Apparel of
all of its funds and assets in order to support the families’ increasingly opulent lifestyle of private jets, limousines, extravagant parties, premium automobiles, designer clothing, ostentatious home furnishings and lavish vacations.
Paragraph 1 of the Amended Complaint dated March 24, 2011.
The trustee further alleged that the Lauritas sought to liquidate Signature Apparel so there would be no money for creditors. Signature Apparel transferred a license (to sell JayZ’s clothing line) to ROC Fashions, LLC for $2.8 million dollars. According to the US Trustee, instead of placing the $2.8 million dollars in the Signature Apparel account, Chris Laurita took the funds for services he claimed he rendered to ROC Fashions. The Trustee filed a case against Roc Fashions alleging that it conspired with the Lauritas to defraud creditors. (Case No. 11-02800)
So when Jacqueline Laurita claims that the bankruptcy is not a personal bankruptcy, she fails to mention that the U.S. Trustee personally charged her, her husband, three in laws with fraud, conversion, embezzlement, larceny etc. and filed several lawsuits against persons and entities for conspiring with the Lauritas to defraud creditors.
On March 29, 2012, Judge Beck of the US Bankruptcy Court refused to dismiss the ROC Fashions case. Judge Beck stated that the Complaint “alleges a very unsavory relationship between Roc Fashions and the Lauritas. And it alleges aiding and abetting some very bad behavior that damage the creditors of Signature Apparel.” Page 16 of the March 29, 2012 Transcript. Judge Peck stated that “The allegations . . . are frankly scandalous.” When the attorney attempted to minimize the issue, the Judge stated:
[T]he Lauritas conspired with your clients to divert 2.8 million dollars away from Signature Apparel. And the fact that your clients paid 2.8 million dollars to one of the Lauritas [Chris Laurita] is an incredibly bad fact. And you know what? The affidavit doesn’t explain it; it doesn’t. In fact, what it does is puts a bull’s eye on your clients. 2.8 million dollars? That’s a lot of money.
March 29, 2012 Transcript Page 17
A Discovery Order was entered on August 13, 2012 in the lawsuit against Jacqueline Laurita and her family with the following dates:
- Fact discovery completed by October 26, 2012
- Expert discovery completed by February 22, 2013
What is most disturbing is the Lauritas apparently drained Signature Apparel of all it’s assets and reduced it to an empty shell, thus leaving the creditors holding “an empty bag of unpaid invoices.” Attached is a list of some of the creditors that made up over fifty five million dollars of monies claimed to be due and owing:
- Susan G Komen Cancer Foundation $18,000
- Federal Express $14,300
- American Express $$83,000
- UPS $9,500
- Ikon Financial $95,000
- Artful Holdings, LLC $10,350,000
- Studio IP Holdings, LLC $20,700,000
- CitiGroup Commercial $200,000
- Daihwa $456,000
- Hitch & Trail, Inc. $3,699,000
- Putnam Leasing $444,000
- GiftTex: $96,000
- Talful, LTD $4,750,000
- Harvestway Ltd $5,051,000
It is unclear at this time if any of the aforementioned companies that were owed millions of dollars were forced to close and/or file for bankruptcy as a result of Signature Apparel’s inability and/or refusal to pay their debts.
Jacqueline Laurita needs to acknowledge the extent of her personal exposure. She seemed knowledgeable when discussing the Giudice bankruptcy, surely she knows her potential exposure where she is a named Defendant accused of fraud, embezzlement and larceny. Will she be as consumed about potential Jail Time as she was for her “friend?”