Maybe that’s her plan to pay off her debts. If so, and if she wins, Teresa Giudice might even have a bit left over when she gets out of jail after serving some of her 15 months behind bars on multiple fraud charges – or not. Just over a month before she is set to start her prison time, The Real Housewives Of New Jersey star has sued her former bankruptcy lawyer James Kridel Jr. for more than $15 million. “Defendant Kridel, as a professional entrusted with the welfare of Plaintiff, committed egregious professional malpractice throughout the pendency of Plaintiff’s bankruptcy case,” says the 3-claim complaint filed December 2 in New York state court (read it here)
Essentially, Giudice says that Kridel messed up her and husband Joe’s Chapter 7 so badly that she’s going to jail because of him. Plus, he cost the reality star money including “lost income from business ventures from which other parties have withdrawn” as well as “reputational damage, public ridicule and derision” from the whole matter. Despite claiming ignorance in a post-sentence interview with Bravo’s Andy Cohen, Teresa’s now going after the attorney her husband hired in 2009 for negligence/legal malpractice, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty with each claim coming with a $5 million-plus price tag.
The fact is the RHONJ star needs the dough.
On October 2, Teresa was given her sentence plus an $8,000 fine and a special assessment of $400 from District Court Judge Esther Salas. She is scheduled to enter prison on January 5. Joe got 41 months behind bars plus 2 years supervised probation and a $10,000 fine. The judge decided that couple will serve their sentences staggered so one parent can be with their children while the other is in prison – which undoubtedly means at least one of them will be back on Bravo next year in one capacity or another. Back in March, with Kridel as her bankruptcy attorney, Teresa and Joe had pleaded guilty to the various fraud charges the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey had indicted them on in July 2013. The government seemed to have a problem with the $4.5 million of various loan applications between 2001 and 2008 that the couple seemed to play fast and loose with the financial facts on. Then there was their late-2009 Chapter 7 protection, which left out or misrepresented income, including the money Teresa made from the first season of RHONJ.
In the October sentencing, Salas also ordered the hot-tempered and apparently broke Giudices to pay $414,588 in restitution. That was far from the biggest financial bite. Because of the fraud, the couple’s bankruptcy from 2009 was cancelled by the court in September, which means that Teresa and Joe still owe more than $13 million to creditors – all of which she seemingly wants to pin on the attorney.
“There were numerous problems with the bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statement of financial affairs filed by Defendant Kridel, including, but not limited to: (a) the failure to list the Plaintiff s employment; (b) the failure to list the Plaintiff s income from her employment; (c) the failure to identify any automobiles which were owned or leased at the time of the filing of the Bankruptcy Case; (d) the failure to identify certain business interests; (e) the failure to list income from rental property; and (f) the failure to list certain bank accounts,” says the 9-page filing by Giudice’s now lawyers Carlos Cuevas, Vincent Volino and Theodore Kaplan of Yonkers, NY.
Cuevas, Volino and Kaplan better hope Teresa doesn’t decide to sue them next if this case doesn’t work out for her.