Teresa and Joe Giudice headed into the courtroom around 9:00 a.m. for their 10 a.m. Eastern time hearing to be sentenced for wire fraud, mail fraud, and bankruptcy fraud. The sentencing takes place in Newark, New Jersey, before U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas this morning and we have been updating this post live as more and more information pours in.
4:33 p.m. UPDATE: 21 month jail sentence requested for Teresa Giudice, according to Star Magazine. It’s been reported that 15 months has been sentenced. Reports on Twitter are that Teresa will serve her sentence first, starting January 5, 2015.
AllAboutTRH reported that the prosecutors argued with the judge before the sentence was given:
According to reporter Jennifer Peros, prosecutors are arguing to judge if Teresa walks, it proves that if you’re famous, you can lie to the court and commit bank fraud.
Reports are that Teresa was hysterical when she received her sentence and that she can get out of jail in 12 months with good behavior. People writes the judge’s statement to Teresa when delivering the verdict:
For a moment I thought about probation … but I think a period of confinement is absolutely necessary in this case. 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.
4:10 p.m. UPDATE: Teresa Giudice breaks down in court telling the judge she is more sorry than anyone will ever know. The judge has reportedly taken a “5 minute recess” and will return with Teresa’s sentence. Teresa cries:
My four daughters are my life. I don’t care about the TV show … I will make this right … I need to learn to do things for myself…I need to wake up … I’m scared, I’m not going to deny it, I’m really scared.
3:00 p.m. UPDATE: The latest news is written by reported Jennifer Peros who states: Teresa and Joe now waiting for judge to read her sentence. Joe is visibly upset with his head in his hands as Teresa stands nervously.
Teresa’s lawyer asked the judge to downgrade the recommended sentence for Teresa, but the request was denied. And, prosecutors want the judge to deny house arrest because the house they live in was built on fraud.
1:12 p.m. UPDATE: Joe Giudice sentenced to 41 months in jail (originally reported as 53 months) and supervised released for two years. Teresa is still awaiting sentencing, according to North Jersey.com. The judge has agreed to let the couple serve their sentences separately so that there will always be one of them home to care for their four daughters. Joe Giudice is ordered to pay restitution of $414,588.90. Joe also has to enter an alcohol treatment program in prison. The judge stated:
They had an obligation to be transparent and candid and open with the court, and I don’t think I got that.
When Joe Giudice addressed the court, he read a letter that stated:
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.
TMZ reports that the couple broke down in tears in the courtroom. The judge laid into Joe Giudice, according to KPopStarz, telling him:
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 … I believe you are charitable and a good person, but I am giving you a jail sentence … It bothers me that you haven’t yet paid your taxes either and that I haven’t gotten a straight answer of whether you filed or not. I don’t sleep the night before a sentence, no matter who it is even if you Joe star of the Real Housewives.
Joe’s attorney told the court that Joe definitely has a drinking problem and often comes to his office smelling of alcohol.
Court will resume at 2:00 p.m. for Teresa’s sentencing.
12:45 p.m. UPDATE: The Giudice hearing was taking a short break in the proceedings. Teresa’s lawyer hasn’t addressed the court yet, though Joe’s has and is blaming the fact that his client hid assets in their financial disclosures because of Joe’s father’s death, as reported by Voice Of TV. Joe’s father Frank died from a heart attack in June 2014, but the Giudices were charged with fraud in February 2013 and have been under investigation for years … You do the math … Doesn’t really make sense, does it?
According to Reality Tea, the judge is not happy today because of the “glaring omissions” in the couple’s disclosure forms, which included “recreational vehicles, home furnishings, cars, construction equipment and seven other items.” These items reportedly total roughly $1 million. North Jersey.com reports:
Teresa, for instance, lists 0 for her jewelry on the forms, but her defense attorney said that most of her jewelry is worth very little because it is costume jewelry. The couple listed $25,000 in furnishings for their $3 million home but the defense attorney said that’s because the furnishings seen on TV are brought in by the production company.
In addition, the Giudices were late in turning in their forms. The judge stated: I had to put the sentencing off because the financial disclosure wasn’t in. The judge has thrown around the possibility of the couple also being charged with perjury because of their omissions and the prosecutor says this is just a “pattern of deception, dishonesty and concealment.” Both Teresa and Joe face restitution of $414,588.90. Joe faces a fine of between $7,500 and $75,000. Teresa faces a fine of $5,000 to $50,000.
Read on for the facts on the case as it’s been building up to this day …
1. They Each Face Significant Jail Time
Both Teresa and Joe face significant sentences separately from each other. The maximum amount of jail time, as per their plea deals, is 47 months for Joe and 27 months for Teresa. Originally, Teresa was hoping for house arrest or to serve their sentences separately. A source tells Radar Online:
Teresa tried to keep everything as normal as possible for the family leading up to the sentencing. She tried to not cry in front of her four daughters, but she couldn’t help but shed a few tears. It’s not lost on Teresa that Wednesday could have been her final day of freedom for a very long time. And Joe knows the judge is likely to throw the book at him, and sentence him to at least three years in prison, too.
As far as all the charges the couple originally faced, compared to what they have plead guilty to, NJ.com reports:
The Montville couple were charged with 41 counts of bank, bankruptcy, wire and mail fraud, and Joe Giudice also faced five counts of failing to pay taxes, but they pleaded guilty to three counts of bankruptcy fraud and one count of mail fraud, with Joe Giudice admitting guilt for one count of failing to pay his taxes … Joe Giudice, 43, also pleaded guilty to failing to file a tax return for 2004, though he acknowledged he didn’t file taxes on income of approximately $1 million between 2004 and 2008.
Fox News adds:
The couple had pleaded guilty 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.
2. If They Go Away to Prison Together, Their Kids May Have to Be Split Up
TMZ reports that if Joe and Teresa have to serve their jail sentences at the same time, their four daughters may have to be split up. TMZ writes:
Teresa says if she goes to prison, the girls will likely have to be split up because no one relative can take all 4.
Additional reports state that Teresa’s parents would become the children’s temporary guardians should this happen. Teresa’s brother and his wife who co-star on the Real Housewives of New Jersey with her, are not reported to be taking any part in guardianship of the Giudices’ daughters.
As for Joe Giudice’s attempt to lighten the load for his wife and family, Joe’s lawyer Miles Feinstein previously stated:
Joe did what was right in this particular case. He proved himself to be a great husband and a great father, and he, in fact, entered the plea without hesitation because it was believed that this would help his wife. We ask that justice be tempered with mercy.
3. Joe Giudice Faces Possible Deportation Back to Italy
Joe Giudice is not a United States citizen, so he could be facing deportation. However, this decision will be made by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and will not be decided at the couples’ sentencing. Radar reports:
There was hope he could avoid being deported on a technicality, but immigration officials are ready to begin the proceedings.
Joe’s lawyer Feinstein opens up about his client’s potential deportation as North Jersey writes:
Born in Italy, he came to the United States when he was 1 year old. But he was never naturalized as a citizen, Feinstein said. His admission to the federal crimes could mean deportation.
Teresa, on the other hand, is hoping to get by with house arrest and/or community service. TMZ reports:
Teresa says she does a lot of charity work with sick kids and others, and she can be more useful in the community than behind bars. Here’s the problem. The sentencing guidelines provide for a prison sentence of somewhere between 21 and 27 months. She’s gunning for mercy.
Teresa is also hoping that the judge is not influenced by her image on the Real Housewives of New Jersey.
UPDATE: All About the Real Housewives reports:
As for Joe being deported. Reports are saying Joe would not face immigration proceedings until after he serves 41 month sentence & completes 2 years supervised release.
4. The Couple Are Selling Their Home
Teresa and Joe Giudice have built themselves a massive home, which is one of the things that got them into this mess. It’s been shown on the Real Housewives of New Jersey this season, that the couple are looking to finally sell their home and downsize. Although, the houses that they’ve been looking at are nice, big, three-car garage homes. The couple is hoping to repay some of the millions they owe ($13 million to be exact), plus all their legal fees. TMZ reports:
Teresa says … she”s more than happy to forfeit any ill-gotten money from the wire fraud if she gets to skate. She says she’s willing to do community service and accept home detention.
Joe and Teresa put their six-bedroom Montville, New Jersey, home on the market for $4 million in September 2014. In addition, the couple put their shore house in Beach Haven West, Stafford Township for sale at $315,000. And finally, they have a third property that Teresa bought herself in 2005. It’s a three-bedroom house on the market for $179,900. Reportedly, Joe and Teresa were hoping to have their bankruptcy case discharged last month, but were unsuccessful in doing so. Radar Online reported:
On August 27, the trustee in their infamous 2009 bankruptcy case filed the discharge papers, requesting to erase the troubled pair’s $13,480,263.11. But in a shocking move, a judge denied the Giudices’ discharge on September 29.
Along with the couple’s plea deal, legal fees, and other debts, Teresa is required to pay $200,000 to the government at her sentencing. In addition, she must forfeit money she and her husband obtained from their fraudulent actions. The amount is determined by the judge.
5. Teresa’s Involvement in the Case Stemmed from the Gifting of a Family Heirloom
Prosecutors reportedly never believed that Teresa was in the dark about the crimes she and her husband are charged with. A big reason for this is because of a story written by Radar Online about Teresa gifting her daughter Gia with a diamond family heirloom ring. Radar writes:
Prosecutors cited Radar’s story about the ring in court documents, alleging that Teresa didn’t disclose it as a “valued asset.” “In the prosecutor’s opinion, it just shows a disturbing pattern of behavior that Teresa isn’t being honest,” the source said.
For more information on the Giudices, have a look at the below links: