by Soma Sengupta
“The Real Housewives of New Jersey” stars Teresa and Joe Giudice appeared in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, this morning to plead guilty to 4 charges including bankruptcy fraud and mail fraud in their respective cases. Mr. Giudice also pled guilty to an additional charge of failure to file a tax return.
The couple had been charged with a 39-count indictment in July 2013. Two more charges were added in November 2013. The most serious count, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, would have carried a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Ms. Giudice faces a possible sentence of up to 27 months in prison and agreed to pay a fine of $200,000. Mr. Giudice, who admitted avoiding income taxes on nearly $1 million between 2004 and 2008, faces a possible sentence of up to 46 months imprisonment. The couple will also face forfeitures, to be imposed at sentencing.
At the conclusion of any prison term Mr. Giudice serves, he will face a deportation hearing that will “likely result in … your being removed from the United States,” said Federal Judge Esther Salas in accepting the pleas. Mr. Giudice is an Italian citizen.
Today’s proceedings only focused on the federal charges filed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Giudice still faces New Jersey state charges.
At a press conference after the hearing, the couple’s attorneys, Henry E. Klingeman said that the plea agreement was in the best interest of their four children. He read a statement from Mrs. Giudice which said: “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.”
“The Real Housewives of New Jersey” is currently filming its sixth season and the Giudices plan to continue their involvement with the show.
Judge Salas set sentencing for July 8, 2014.