"Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Melissa Gorga has again found herself mired in controversy following reports that she has a criminal history stemming from an arrest made over a decade ago.
The 33-year-old reality TV star was reportedly arrested for shoplifting on July 16, 1997, when she was just 18 years old, and there is still a warrant out for her arrest, according to RadarOnline.com.
Gorga, who was still under her maiden name "Marco" at the time, was busted for "retail theft" in Palm Beach County, Fla. although she is said to be a New Jersey resident. RadarOnline reported that an arrest warrant was issued on October 8, 1997 "after she missed her arraignment on Oct. 6." The website claims that Palm Beach County Public Information Officer Kathy Burstein confirmed that the matter is still open.
The shoplifting drama comes just two weeks after the "RHONJ" season four finale, in which Gorga's alleged past as a stripper was exposed, although she has vehemently denied ever working as an exotic dancer.
During the season four finale episode, Gorga accused her co-star and sister-in-law Teresa Giudice of plotting with outsiders to embarrass her at a fashion show. Giudice allegedly asked Angelo Vrohidis- a former manager of a gentleman's club- to expose Gorga's rumored past as a stripper. That claim has since been denied by Giudice.
In June, it was revealed that Gorga and her husband Joe put both of their lavish homes up for sale and new reports suggest that they did so because they are experiencing financial woes. The Gorgas also listed their main home, which is located in Montville Township, NJ., and their Toms River vacation homes to allegedly ease debts.
"Melissa and Joe are in way over their heads. Joe owes a lot of people money. They have the house on the market because they can't pay the mortgage now that the interest rate on it has exploded," a source close to the couple told Radar Online.
"They are portraying a life they that they really didn't live prior to the show. Melissa likes to drop name brands now and has become very arrogant. Joe loves the fact that Joe Giudice has financial issues, yet he's in the same boat!" the insider added.