UPDATE, 1:48 PM: Turns out reality bites for Teresa Giudice – at least for nearly the next year and a half. Today the long time Real Housewives of New Jersey star was handed 15 months in prison by a federal judge on multiple fraud charges that she pleaded guilty to earlier this year. The Reality TV cast member has to surrender to authorities on January 5 next year. Minutes before receiving her sentence Teresa told Judge Esther Salas that she takes responsibility for her actions, didn’t care about the Bravo TV series and that she was “more sorry than anyone will ever know.” Maybe the words had some effect as the feds were asking for Teresa to get 21 months behind bars.
The sentencing from the U.S. District Court Judge came around 4 hours after Teresa’s husband Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice was slapped with over 3 years in the big house for the bankruptcy, bank and mortgage fraud charges totaling more than $4 million. At his sentencing, Joe told the court that he was “humiliated” by his actions and also took “full responsibility” for the consequences. Because she has the lesser time, Teresa will go to prison first with her husband’s sentence staggered so he can take care of their 4 children. Joe will follow when his wife is released with his possible deportation back to Italy to be dealt with afterwards. “Prison is the appropriate penalty for these serious financial crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman after the sentencing.
No word from Bravo as to how today’s events will affect Teresa and Joe’s role in the remainder of Season 6 of the show or upcoming other seasons of RHONJ. However, I have learned that the couple will be appearing on a special Watch What Happens Live: One-on-One with Teresa and Joe with Andy Cohen on the cabler on October 6 at 9 PM in their first post-sentencing sitdown.
Before issuing Teresa’s sentence today in Newark, Judge Salas listened to various proposals from both sides. She rejected a downward departure proposal from the defense lawyers that could have seen Teresa serving a reduced sentence from the federally mandated minimums. Judge Salas obviously also agreed with the prosecutors that home confinement would not be appropriate.
PREVIOUS, 10:35 AM: Nearly seven months after pleading guilty to multiple mortgage and bankruptcy fraud charges, Teresa Giudice and her husband Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice today are learning what their punishments will be. In federal court in Newark, The Real Housewives of New Jersey stars were scheduled to be sentenced this morning. In line with what the government was seeking, Joe Giudice got 41 months in prison, 2 years of supervised probation and was ordered to pay $414,588 in restitution from District Court Judge Esther Salas.
Looking like she will see some jail time too, Teresea Giudice’s sentencing will come later this morning after a break in the proceedings. The sentencing was a long time coming today with the couple’s court appearance starting at 7 AM PT.
Before the sentencing, the Giudices got an earful from Judge Salas over discrepancies and omissions in their financial filings with terms like perjury being used. Because of the fraud, the couple’s bankruptcy of several years ago was cancelled by the court last month and the Giudices once again owe over $13 million to creditors.
As is somewhat common in cases like this, the court said the couple will serve consecutive sentences so one parent can take care of the Giudice’s four young daughters. In a statement to the court before her sentencing, Teresa said that she would repay the funds the couple fraudulently obtained from the banks and other institutions if she could receive home arrest and community service.
Back in March, when the reality TV couple had copped their guilty pleas, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey had recommended that Teresa get almost 2.5 years behind bars while Joe, who publicly took the bulk of the blame for the couple’s deceitful finances, be handed nearly 4 years in prison. Bravo had no comment on the sentencing today. The often explosive couple have been on the series, the fourth in the Housewives franchise, since it started over 5 years ago.
The vast majority of the initial 39 charges the Giudices were indicted on in July 2013 come from false income statements on loan and mortgage documents and failure to file tax returns. Most of the charges were from before the Garden State version of the reality TV franchise debuted in May 2009. However some of the charges did spill over to what had been Seasons 1 and 2 of RHONJ. The parents of four young daughters, the Giudices were supposed to be sentenced earlier this summer but that was pushed back after Joe’s father passed away in June and then again because required financial documents were not filed in time with the court.
The federal charges could have cost the couple millions in fines and put them behind bars for decades. More charges were added against Teresa and Joe in November of last year, which the duo plead not guilty to as they had the previous charges. In addition, the case revealed that Joe was in the U.S. illegally and he could face deportation to Italy after serving his time. RHONJ being shameless as it is, all of this made its way on to ongoing Season 6 of the Bravo series.