Reality stars Joe and Teresa Giudice, of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” fame, were sentenced to prison terms on Thursday in Newark on conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud charges.
Federal Judge Esther Salas gave Teresa a 15-month sentence; her husband Joe was given a 41-month sentence. The sentences will be staggered so the couple can care for their four young daughters, who range from ages 5 to 13.
“For a moment I thought about probation … but I think a period of confinement is absolutely necessary in this case,” Judge Salas said to Ms. Giudice. “I don’t honestly believe that you understand or respect the law. I need to send a message. In the eyes of the law, it doesn’t matter who you are. There are consequences to pay.”
The couple was charged in a 39-count indictment in July of 2013. Among the charges included were making false statements on loan applications, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and bankruptcy fraud. At the time, the couple pled not guilty to all charges.
In March, the Giudices recanted their original petition and pled guilty to hiding assets from bankruptcy creditors and to submitting false loan applications in an attempt to collect roughly $5 million in construction and mortgage loans.
Mr. Giudice also pled guilty to failing to pay taxes totaling greater than $200,000.
Before her sentencing, Ms. Giudice offered a tearful apology. “I fully take responsibility for my actions,” she said. “I need to learn to take responsibility for myself.”
Mr. Giudice also apologized during a statement before his sentencing. “I stand here humiliated,” he said. “I disgraced many people, including my wife and my four daughters. I take full responsibility for my actions. I promise to be a better person.”
After completing his sentence, Mr. Giudice faces deportation as he is not an American citizen. He came to the United States from Italy as an infant and learned of his legal status as an adult.
The couple will pay $414,000 in restitution.