NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The married stars of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” will be trading the drama of reality TV for prison.
Teresa Giudice was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Newark to 15 months in prison on conspiracy and bankruptcy charges while her husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, was sentenced to 41 months.
The couple from Montville, who soared to fame on the hit Bravo show, was ordered to pay $414,000 in restitution — $10,000 of it immediately.
As CBS 2’s Sonia Rincon reported, Teresa Giudice, 42, gave an emotional statement in court, saying: “I am scared. I’m a wife and a mother. But today I am humbled. I fully take responsibility for my actions. It’s time for me to wake up. I deeply love my family. My four daughters are my life.”
She went on to say she is a woman of faith and will find her way for the sake of her family.
Joe Giudice apologized in court, saying he disgraced many people.
U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas said she briefly considered probation for Teresa Giudice, but that she was appalled when the couple failed to reveal $75,000 worth of assets on a probation form, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan. Teresa Giudice cried after the judge handed down the sentence.
Salas did make a rare exception by agreeing to stagger the Giudices’ sentences so one parent can be home with their four children while the other is in prison. Teresa Giudice will serve her sentence first because Joe Giudice is not a U.S. citizen and faces possible deportation to Italy when he’s released from prison.
Teresa Giudice will surrender to authorities Jan. 5.
While the judge was upset the couple hid assets from the court, she gave Joe Guidice credit for helping people rebuild after Superstorm Sandy and other storms.
The couple pleaded guilty in March, admitting that they hid assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitted phony loan applications to get some $5 million in mortgages and construction loans.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Joe Giudice faced a potential sentence of 37 to 46 months and Teresa Giudice could get 21 to 27 months, though the judge had the power to deviate up or down from those ranges.
Both Giudices pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and three types of bankruptcy fraud.
Joe Giudice, 43, also pleaded guilty to failing to file a tax return for 2004, though he acknowledged he didn’t file taxes on income of approximately $1 million between 2004 and 2008.
“The obvious victim of the mail and wire fraud were the banks that were defauded into providing mortgage loans and home equity lines of credit that the Giudices applied for over a period of seven or eight years,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. “Ultimately, one bank was left holding the bag for about $414,000 as a loss.
He said the sentences “send a message to everyone else who’s watching, that these are the kinds of crimes for which people should be punished and should go to jail. And we hope that people who see and hear about this will think twice before doing the same things themselves.”
“The judge said that this was a typical case of keeping up with the Joneses. They were involved with friends who were very wealthy and they were trying to have the best car, the biggest house,” Andrew Nodell, Life and Style Weekly said.
At a restaurant in Cedar Grove, where Teresa famously flipped a table, customers had mixed feelings about seeing the couple do hard time.
“I think Joe knew what he was doing, but I don’t know that Teresa knew what she was doing ,” Peter Robertiello told CBS 2’s Sonia Rincon.
“I thinkit was their own fault in all honestly, but it’s still said,” Lauren Downey said.
Nodell added that viewers can expect to watch them downsize.
“This could even turn into a spin off series. I mean you see them living this lavish lifestyle, and then all of a sudden they have to liquidate everything,” Nodell said.
Giudice spokeswoman Wendy Feldman was philosophical in a statement about the sentences.
“Sadly, today marks the end of one stage of our criminal justice system that is less than favorable to Teresa, Joe and their four children,” Feldman told E! News in a statement also provided to CBS 2. “However, as with all people who go through this process, it is also the chance for a new beginning. Teresa, Joe and their children will reflect on what has happened, why it happened and what will happen next.”
As 1010 WINS’ Rebecca Granet reported, Fishman said the fact that Teresa Giudice is a celebrity played no role in her punishment.
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