“Real Housewives of New Jersey” convicted felons, Teresa & Joe Giudice arrive at the Federal Court building in Newark to go before U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas to be sentenced for bankruptcy, wire and mail fraud.
They each face significant prison time and will be required to make restitution. Joe, who is not a United States citizen, could be deported, although that decision will be made by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at a later date.
Joe Giudice was sentenced to what amounts to three-and-a-half years in prison. Teresa Giudice was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Judge Esther Salas ordered both to serve two years’ probation following the completion of their term.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Salas ordered the couple to forfeit $414,588. Additionally, the judge fined Joe Giudice $10,000 and fined Teresa Giudice $8,000.
Teresa must report to prison on Jan. 5. Teresa will serve her time first, while Joe stays home with their four girls. Once Teresa completes her sentence, Joe will start his.
The couple apologized in federal court today, telling the judge they disgraced many people.
The couple leaving court after being sentenced. They exited, holding hands while Teresa sobbed.
They each pleaded guilty to four counts of fraud including: bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and failing to pay taxes. Joe Giudice, specifically was accused of not filing tax returns for four years, so he pleaded guilty to an additional count of failure to file income taxes.
Teresa Giudice has been a current cast member in the Bravo reality series, The Real Housewives of New Jersey since it’s beginning in 2009. Her husband, Joe makes regular appearances. What makes this case truly unique, is that the profits gained by these illegal activities have not been kept private. The Giudices have made no secret of their thirst for showy wealth, as evidenced over and over on TV screens all over America. We have seen shopping sprees being paid for with fistfuls of cash, an expansive new home build, numerous lavish parties, as well as an ongoing, on camera dialogue touting the importance of maintaining such a lifestyle. Interestingly, even after being pronounced convicted felons, the spending hasn’t stopped. There have been vacations, proudly captured in photos and shared openly by the Giudices. The extravagant parties have continued, and luxuries such as an exclusive summer camp for their daughter, and elaborate beauty treatments have been made financial priorities. This scenario has captured the interest and aroused the passion of a chunk of America, and many are waiting anxiously, hoping for justice. How ‘justice’ is defined to each interested bystander, is what has lit up blogs, and social media with Giudice oriented banter.
Selling Stories To The Press:
According to Wendy Feldman, the couple’s Crisis PR Manager, Teresa sells stories to the press DAILY. Pleading guilty has not slowed down the newly convicted felon. Immediately after pleading guilty this morning, Teresa
sold made the following statement to People magazine:
“Today I took a responsibility for a series of mistakes I made several years ago. I am heartbroken that this is affecting my family. Especially my four young daughters, who mean more to me than anything in the world. I have said throughout that I respect the legal process and thus, I intend to address the court directly at sentencing, she said in her statement. I will describe the choices I made, continue to take responsibility for my decision and express my remorse to Judge Salas and the public.”
Some Details of the Charges:
- In false loan applications filed by the couple, they claimed Teresa was either employed as an owner of her husband’s stucco business or as a real estate agent, which she was not, according to their plea agreements. They submitted phony W-2 forms, pay stubs and tax returns and received more than $5 million in mortgage and construction loans and lines of credit.
- In their bankruptcy, they filed false statements about their finances and failed to disclose rental property income, bank accounts and business ownership interests to the bankruptcy trustee. For example, they never revealed Teresa’s TG Fabulicious fashion merchandise business.
- The trustee assigned to the Giudices’ bankruptcy case noticed red flags. One was that the couple kept adding assets they hadn’t listed previously. That led the trustee to file papers blocking the bankruptcy. The couple then agreed to drop the bankruptcy, which left them owing creditors $13 million.
- They recently placed their six-bedroom home in the Towaco section of Montville on the market for $3.99 million. They also listed a four-bedroom Shore house in the Beach Haven West section of Stafford Township for sale for $315,000.
- Joe pleaded guilty to not filing a 2004 tax return, and he agreed in the plea that he owes the Internal Revenue Service $224,211 for the $1.2 million in income that he didn’t report between 2000 and 2008.
According to Miles Feinstein, Joe’s attorney, believes that his acceptance of the plea deal was a wise decision and allows the best chance for a lessened sentence for Teresa.
“Joe did what was right in this particular case,” Feinstein said. “He proved himself to be a great husband and a great father, and he, in fact, entered the plea without hesitation because it was believed that this would help his wife. We ask that justice be tempered with mercy.”
Joe also faces other charges, in state Superior Court in Paterson, stemming from allegedly presenting false identification to obtain a driver’s license, while under suspension because of a drunk driving conviction. He is also not an American citizen, and his admission to the federal crimes could mean deportation back to Italy.
Stuart P. Green, a criminal law professor at Rutgers University’s School of Law in Newark, explains that although there was a time when a convicted white collar crime wouldn’t necessarily mean prison, sentencing guidelines have been revised.
“Even though it was non-violent conduct, it’s a serious fraud involving a significant amount of money with multiple counts including covering up false statements to the government.” Green said. “White collar criminals today are routinely sentenced to significant prison time for serious frauds and other violations.”
Green also explains that this is an example of a tied plea, which is typically done with married couples when one partner is more culpable than the other. Joe is more likely to get prison time, because he took a more active role in the scheme. He faces from 37-46 months. Teresa faces a minimum sentence of probation to a maximum of 27 months. Common public theory suggests that Teresa will receive probation, an opinion shared by John S. Furlong, a longtime New Jersey criminal defense attorney.
“The judge will want to appear balanced in the administration of justice,” Furlong said. “If you’re going to give Mrs. Giudice a pass, and you’re doing it on the basis that her husband is trying to accept a greater position of responsibility, then you’re entitled to take them at their word.”