‘Real Housewives’ stars Teresa and Joe Giudice sentenced to serve 15 months and 41 months, respectively, in prison serving concurrent terms
Jeffrey S. Freeman, J.D., LL.M
When you lie, cheat, and steal you go to jail, even if you are a ‘Real Housewives’ star. Teresa Giudice and her husband Joe Giudice were sentenced to serve concurrent terms for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud along with three different types of bankruptcy fraud.
Starring in the Real Housewives of New Jersey, the Giudices are captured living in a luxurious home and spending untold amounts of money on lavish vacations and gifts for their four young children. Along with her time in the spotlight from her reality show fame, Teresa Giudice has also written three New York Times bestselling cookbooks and in 2012 competed in “The Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC.
When their lives began unraveling before the public eye Teresa stated in a live interview in September 2013 with Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” host Andy Cohen, ‘Why? Why is this happening to me?’. Despite her celebrity status, she is not above the law. Crime pays and the crimes were many.
In March 2014, both Teresa and Joe pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and three types of bankruptcy fraud. They admitted to hiding numerous assets from bankruptcy court and submitting phony loan applications allowing them to obtain approximately $5 million in mortgages and construction loans. Joe Giudice also pleaded guilty for failure to file a tax return for 2004 and not filing taxes on approximately $1 million income between 2004 and 2008.
Continuing to not help themselves, the Giudice’s failed to disclose all of their assets in their presentencing report. Not smart when you are the star of a reality TV show. Several cars and three ATVs were omitted and they claimed no jewelry. In addition, Teresa stated that her luxurious $3 million home contains a mere $25,000 worth of furniture.
The Judge didn’t believe them and saw this as the tip of the ice berg when it came time to sentencing. U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas state that “It feels like things have been hidden.” and opted not to grant the probation sentencing that Teresa desired. The level of fraud merits the incarceration which was sentenced.
The judge declined to be lenient with the sentencing giving Teresa Giudice 15 months in prison beginning January 5, 2015. Following her term Joe Giudice will spend 3.5 years behind bars allowing the parents to maintain care for their four young daughters. Additional each was sentenced to two years of supervised release. Financially the couple also had to pay $414,558 and Joe was fined $10,000 and Teresa $8,000. Joe also could face deportation if the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seeks it after he serves his sentence.
Judge Salas said that this is a time for their daughters to “understand discipline. If you don’t have it, you shouldn’t spend it.” I think we can also add that lying and cheating won’t get you out of jail or from paying your taxes.
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