U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas has sentenced Joe Giudice to 41 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay restitution of $414,588 in bankruptcy fraud case.
Joe will serve two years of probation, with his wife Terese facing sentencing this afternoon. Updated!
Giudice was handed nearly the maximum sentence after he and his wife, Teresa Giudice, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and three types of bankruptcy fraud earlier this year.
Teresa, a star of “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, is awaiting her sentencing.
The judge stated that Teresa would serve her sentence first at a different time than Joe so one of them would be there to take care of their daughters.
Joe, 43, also pleaded guilty to failing to file a tax return for 2004, but he admitted he didn’t file taxes on income of approximately $1 million between 2004 and 2008.
Judge Salas had yelled at the couple for failing to let the court know they purchased “recreational vehicles, home furnishings, cars, construction equipment” and more over the past few months.
Salas asked, “How is it that at this point the court is having to go over this?”
The judge also pointed out the couple had previously hidden assets from the court, forcing her to put off their sentencing.
Judge Salas stated, “It’s the same pattern of obstruction and dishonesty and manipulation that they showed in the bankruptcy case”.
The couple also said on forms they only own $25,000 worth of furniture in their $3 million home, saying the production company furnishes the house for them during filming.
The judge then asked why they had a $1 million insurance policy.
She also pointed out that in 2009 bankruptcy filings, the couple showed $60,000 in assets in their home.
Teresa also listed her jewelry amount as 0, saying most is costume jewelry and not worth much.
Joe’s lawyer, lawyer, Miles Feinstein, blamed these recent actions on his client’s difficulty dealing with the death of his father this past June. Miles stated, “He hasn’t been the same person. That was his best friend.”
Joe read a letter to the court before he was sentenced, saying, “I stand here humiliated before the court and my family and society. I disgraced many people, including my wife and four daughters. I take full responsibility for my actions. I promise to be a better person.”
The couple took a plea deal 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.
The couple also learned this week that a bankruptcy judge denied their claim to erase over $13 million in debt.
Teresa could get 21 to 27 months, but judge could deviate up or down from those ranges.
Lawyers for Teresa, 42, remain hopeful that she may be spared a prison sentence and instead receive probation, noting the need to care for the couple’s four young daughters.
Their daughters, Gia, Gabriella, Milania and Audriana, have been seen on this season of Housewives as the couple deals with their legal troubles in front of the cameras.
Joe, who is an Italian citizen, could be deported upon completion of a prison term. His attorney has said that he came to the U.S. as an infant and wasn’t aware that he wasn’t an American citizen.
We will update this story when Terese learns her fate this afternoon.
UPDATE: Teresa has learned she will serve 15 months in jail while Joe is set to serve 41 months in federal prison.
Teresa read an emotional letter to the court:
“I fully take responsibility for my actions. I deeply love my family… My four daughters are my life. I wrote this last night because I knew I was going to be nervous… I’m scared, I’m not going to deny it, I’m really scared. I have heard you. I need to live to do things for myself. It’s time for me to wake up… I will make this right no matter what it takes.”
One positive thing about the sentencing is that Judge Salas ordered Teresa to report to prison in January so she can spend the holidays with her four daughters and husband.
Teresa is due to report to prison on January 5, but the location of her incarceration is yet to be released.
Salas told the New Jersey courtroom, “She’s going to have the holidays with her family”.
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