Joe Giudice is headed to prison. Seven months after he and wife Teresa Giudice pleaded guilty to several counts of fraud, the Real Housewives of New Jersey stars reappeared in federal court for their sentencing hearing on Thursday, Oct. 2.
UPDATE: Teresa Giudice has been sentenced, too; she received a 15-month term behind bars.
Per NorthJersey.com, Joe was sentenced to a 41-month term with a restitution payment of $414,588. Teresa has yet to receive her sentence, but the site reports that she won't serve at the same time as her husband.
According to a similar account from NJ.com, U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas began the hearing by scolding the couple for "inconsistencies and omissions" in their financial disclosure paperwork. "They had an obligation to be transparent and candid and open with the court, and I don't think I got that," the site quotes Salas as saying. "I want to understand the disconnect."
At another point during the hearing, Joe's attorney, Miles Feinstein, gave a speech attesting to his client's character, citing 44 letters that had been written on his behalf by family and friends. Feinstein further shared that Joe has a problem with alcohol, which he hopes the star will be treated for in prison.
Joe himself read a letter, too, NJ.com reports. "I stand here humiliated before the court and my family and society," he said. "I disgraced many people, including my wife and four daughters. I take full responsibility for my actions. I promise to be a better person."
Prior to his sentencing, Judge Salas admonished him for his actions, saying, "Everyone indulges, but there has to be discipline. You need to teach your daughters discipline. If you don't have it, don't spend it," she told Joe. She later added, "I believe you are charitable and a good person, but I am giving you a jail sentence."
Joe's sentence is more or less in keeping with what his attorney expected for him. After they entered a guilty plea on March 4, Feinstein told Us Weekly that while Joe would probably spend some time in prison, Teresa might be able to get off with a lighter sentence.
"We're hoping Teresa does not go to jail," he said at the time, suggesting probation as a possible alternative. "The great likelihood is that Joe will get some jail time. There's no doubt about it. It's just a matter of how long."
As reported earlier this year, Joe took the bulk of the responsibility in the case against them, pleading guilty to five counts of bankruptcy and mail fraud, compared with Teresa's four. (The Bravo stars — who have four daughters together, Gia, 13, Gabriella, 9, Milania, 8, and Audriana, 5 — were indicted for a total of 41 counts back in July 2013.)
Following their March court appearance, Teresa released a statement to Us addressing her legal woes. "Today I took responsibility for a series of mistakes I made several years ago," she shared. "I have said throughout that I respect the legal process and thus I intend to address the court directly at sentencing. I will describe the choices I made, continue to take responsibility for my decisions, and express my remorse to Judge Salas and the public."
She went on to lament the toll her past decisions had taken on her kids, saying, "I am heartbroken that this is affecting my family — especially my four young daughters, who mean more to me than anything in the world. Beyond this, I do not intend to speak specifically about the case outside of court, at the recommendation of my attorney and out of deference to the government and our legal system."
At least some of the saga has been documented, however, on the sixth season of RHONJ. In one recent episode, after she and Joe pled guilty in court, Teresa bemoaned her legal situation, saying, "I can't believe that this is my life."
The Giudices were originally supposed to appear before a judge for sentencing in July, but the hearing was rescheduled when Joe's father, Frank Giudice, died unexpectedly at age 63 in June.
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