Teresa and Joe Giudice's date with Lady Justice was not fabulicious.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey couple appeared in federal court in Newark on Thursday to be sentenced for bankruptcy, mail, and wire fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salasgave ordered Joe to serve 41 months in prison, while Teresa was sentenced to 15. Joe was fined $10,000 and they both must pay back $414,588 in loans that they illegally obtained. The couple, who are parents to four daughters under 13, will have staggered sentences with Teresa going to jail first so that one parent can always be with the children.
Teresa must surrender for her 15-month prison sentence on Jan. 5, which will allow her to spend the holidays with her kids.
The sentences could have been worse considering that she faced 27 months in prison and he faced 46. However, the judge rejected her bid to serve out her sentence at home. Also, what is still to be determined, once Joe completes his sentence, is whether he will be deported back to Italy.
The pair had initially been charged with 41 counts of bank, bankruptcy, wire, and mail fraud — with Joe facing additional charges related to unpaid taxes — but they made a deal in March. Teresa pleaded guilty to three counts of bankruptcy and one count of mail and wire fraud while Joe pleaded guilty to five counts, including a failure to file income taxes.
In court, the judge admonished the Giudices for seeming to hide assets in their financial disclosure reports, according to the Star-Ledger. Judge Salas listed cars, recreational vehicles, and home furnishings, which were not reported to the probation office by the couple but listed on federal prosecutor's documents. "How is it that at this point the court is having to go over this?" Salas asked the Giudice's defense attorneys. The judge scolded their legal teams for failing to turn over documents in time, saying papers that were due in March weren't turned over until late August. She said the omissions and inconsistencies did not make the couple seem worthy of leniency.
Joe's lawyer also said in court that his client has a drinking problem and that he wants him to get treatment in a rehab facility.
"I stand here humiliated before the court and my family and society," Joe read from a prepared statement before his sentence. "I disgraced many people, including my wife and four daughters. I take full responsibility for my actions. I promise to be a better person."
Before Teresa was sentenced, she also addressed the court — through tears. According to the Star-Ledger, she noted that she was "more sorry than anyone will ever know" and admitted that she was "scared." However, she vowed, "I will make this right." And she said that her children were more important to her than her material possessions — or reality TV career.
"My four daughters are my life. I don't care about the TV show."
The couple, who lives in Montville, arrived together for court holding hands. The 42-year-old reality TV diva and cookbook author had on a black pantsuit, beige blouse, and black heels and carried a clutch. Teresa, who was known for her excessive spending and lavish lifestyle on the Bravo show, kept her head down and didn't speak to reporters while she walked inside; Joe looked straight ahead.
After entering their guilty plea in March, Teresa spoke out, saying, "Today, I took responsibility for a series of mistakes I made several years ago. 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. 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."
While awaiting her sentencing, Teresa continued making public appearances — the most recent of which was Sept. 3 when she signed bottles of her Fabellini sparkling wine at a New Jersey catering hall. She also attended Dina Manzo's white party over the summer and a premiere bash for Season 6 of RHONJ with Joe. Her Instagram feed has also been active, including family beach trips and many bikini shots.
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