09/27/2013 at 06:45 AM EDT
Teresa Giudice and her husband, Joe, face the possibility of 50 years behind bars for multiple counts of fraud
following an indictment last month. Yet the Real Housewives of New Jersey
star says she has exactly four reasons to stay strong while facing the charges: her daughters.
"I can't fall apart," she tells Watch What Happens Live
host Andy Cohen in an interview to air Sunday, while clutching her husband's hand. "I have my daughters. They mean the world to me."
Teresa, 41, and Joe, 43, pleaded not guilty
in federal court in Newark, N.J., to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud and bankruptcy fraud, all part of a 39-count indictment that contends the couple initially exaggerated their income in a mortgage filing, then later hid income in a bankruptcy filing.
The government alleges that the Montville Township, N.J., couple falsely inflated their income when filing a mortgage loan in 2001. Prosecutors believe Teresa dishonestly claimed she worked as an executive assistant, and submitted phony pay stubs and W-2 forms as part of the ruse.
The indictment also states the couple lied about multiple income sources – including Teresa's Real Housewives
earnings – when filing for bankruptcy protection in 2009.
Without directly addressing the charges, Giudice makes it clear
that she is using this time for soul searching.
"You go through things in life. I don't know why," she says. "I'm asking, 'Why is this happening to me?'"
For the moment, it appears she has found at least one answer.
"Maybe something my daughters can learn from this is: 'My mom was really strong through all this. She was there for us.' I hope they always have that with them," she says, wiping away tears.