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Brand spankin’ new Real Housewives of New Jersey star Amber Marchese has come out guns blazing against former friend Melissa Gorga. And she’s about to get a baptism by fire in being on a reality TV show!

However, it turns out neither Amber, nor her husband Jim Marchese, are strangers to drama! Their lives are definitely worthy of a reality TV show. 

Amber’s husband Jim has quite an interesting past – and it turns out he’s definitely not one to duck and cover either! In 2002 Jim reported his former employer Cell Therapeutics to the federal government on the grounds of Medicare fraud. 

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Jim, then a sales representative, uncovered a scheme in which the company was illegally marketing their cancer drug Trisenox to Medicare recipients by advertising “unapproved uses” and results. Cell Therapeutics in turn defrauded the government of millions of dollars because doctors may have wrongfully prescribed their drug.

Cell Therapeutics tried to make the case that Jim was a significant part of that marketing scheme and therefore should not be exonerated, but a judge disagreed citing that Jim was acting under the good faith of his supervisors. As a result Cell Therapeutics was ordered to pay the government $10.5 million dollars.

Jim, covered under The Whistleblower Act, was granted 15% of the monies Cell Therapeutic had to pay for his “significant role” in the case, which would mean he was entitled to $1.575 as government prosecutors felt they would not have a solid case without Jim’s information. 

It didn’t end there however! Both Cell Therapeutics and Jim appealed the case. Cell Therapeutics felt Jim should not be entitled to retribution as he was involved in the scheme. And Jim felt he was entitled to 25% of the settlement (the maximum amount allowed) because as a “low-level employee” he risked everything by alerting the government of the fraud. [source]

In the end both sides withdrew their appeals and Jim received his initial 15% settlement. 

[Sources: SeattlePI.com, FDALAW, & NYTimes Business Section]

Amber, a survivor of breast cancer herself, is also raising Jim’s two sons from his previous marriage. Jim and his ex-wife Rebecca Grande have been involved in a bitter custody dispute, with Jim suing Rebecca for full custody. Among the claims he makes is that she is falsely attempting to have their son diagnosed with Autism! 

In court documents available at law.justia.com Jim claims Rebecca is unstable and had recently pled guilty to second-degree felony that would result in jail time. Oops. A judge denied Jim’s motion stating he did not have significant evidence and pointing out that Rebecca is on probation, not yet incarcerated. Although since then she has been indicted by a grand jury for 7 counts.

Oh – want to know what felony Rebecca pled guilty to? Mortgage fraud. Is everyone in freaking New Jersey committing mortgage fraud?! You can read about her case at MortgageFraud.squarespace. Rebecca, through her company Spectrum Title Agency, was also charged with conspiracy, misapplication of entrusted property, theft by failure to make required disposition of property received and misconduct by a corporate official.

No word yet on whether or not Jim now has full-custody or if Rebecca will serve jail time. The case was on-going in 2013. 

Finally, if you tuned into Game of Crowns after RHONJ then you met Lori-Ann Marchese who happens to be Jim’s cousin! I imagine that means we’ll be getting some cross-over action. Bravo certainly likes to keep it all in the family! 

Well, well – all together interesting tea on the Marchese family. I’m curious to see how they’ll interact with the other cast members this season and what they’ll bring to the table! 

[Photo Credit: Alex Martinez/Bravo)]

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