NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The stars of the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” say they are shocked to be facing prison on conspiracy and bankruptcy charges.
Teresa Giudice said the sentence of 15 months was “very unexpected,” as was the 41-month sentence doled out to her husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, last Thursday in federal court in Newark.READ MORE: NYPD: Mother Throws 4-Week-Old Daughter, 2-Year-Old Son Out Window Before Jumping Out Herself
“I feel like I’m numb. Like surreal. All’s I keep thinking about is my daughters,” said the glum Teresa, who was seated beside Joe in matching wingchairs, holding his hand, as they were questioned by Bravo host Andy Cohen in the interview special that aired Monday night after being taped last Friday.
“I actually felt like I got hit in the back of the neck by a bat,” said Joe, describing his reaction to the sentencing the day before. He elaborated: “I don’t know. It is what it is.”
The couple from Montville, who soared to fame on the hit Bravo show, was also ordered to pay $414,000 in restitution — $10,000 of it immediately.
U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas said she briefly considered probation for Teresa, but that she was appalled when the couple failed to reveal $75,000 worth of assets on a probation form. Teresa cried after the judge handed down the sentence.
In a nod to the couple’s four young daughters, the judge staggered the sentences so Teresa will serve her sentence first. She is scheduled to report to prison Jan. 5.
Joe, who is not a U.S. citizen, also faces possible deportation to Italy when he’s released from prison.
The couple had pleaded guilty in March, admitting they hid assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitted phony loan applications to get some $5 million in mortgages and construction loans. Joe also pleaded guilty to failing to pay taxes totaling more than $200,000.
“I expected me (to get jail time). I wasn’t expecting her,” said Joe. “She had no part in my businesses or whatever. She really didn’t.”
Asked how such things went so awry, the couple seemed to be trying to explain.READ MORE: Caught On Camera: Man Punches Woman In Face After Stealing Phone In Central Park
“Whatever Joe told me to sign, I would sign,” said Teresa, declaring she had never made a habit of reading or understanding legal documents.
Cohen asked Joe if he knew the questionable nature of the contracts he was handing his wife.
“Just whatever the bank gave me for her to sign,” he replied.
“But you were taking out false loans,” Cohen pointed out.
“All right, whatever,” Joe said. “I was taking out false loans.”
No real excuse came to light for the illegal practices and both Giudices denied that any appetite for living large had put them in financial distress.
Teresa said her greatest regret as she faces imprisonment is separation from her daughters while her greatest concern is for their welfare while being separated from their mom.
“What depresses me is, you know, not being there for my daughters,” she said. “I’ve been there since they were born so I can’t even imagine not being there.”
Asked how he feels as he faces Teresa’s imminent incarceration and his role as single parent, Joe replied, “It’s gonna be a lot of work. But they’re my daughters and I gotta do what I gotta do.”
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