'Real Housewives' Stars Slapped With Prison Time
"Real Housewives of New Jersey" stars Giuseppe "Joe" and Teresa Giudice got a big, fat dose of reality Thursday when they were both sentenced to prison terms after pleading guilty to federal bankruptcy, mail and wire fraud charges.
Teresa Giudice, 42, was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Her husband, Joe Giudice, 43, was ordered to serve 41 months in prison, and pay $441,000 from one of his illegally obtained loans, along with a $10,000 fine.
From the start, the day of sentencing went against the reality stars, whose hit series for the Bravo channel documents their lavish lifestyle in suburban New Jersey, which includes a mansion and beach house whose combined worth is over $4 million.
U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas slammed the couple for what she described as the "glaring" omissions and inconsistencies in their financial disclosure statement, according to an NJ.com account.
Before passing sentence on Joe Giudice, which includes 12 months to run concurrently for failing to file his tax returns in 2004, Salas reportedly told him, "I am not sure you respect the court. I am not sure you respect our laws. And I am not sure you understand yet what you did."
The judge, however, didn't hand down the full recommended sentence for him -- 46 months in prison. Salas said she considered dozens of letters on his behalf that called him a devoted husband and father.
"A sentence under the top end of the range would be appropriate," she said, according to the NJ.com account, "but I have to give you credit for the life you have lived, at least to the people you have loved."
Teresa Giudice will serve her sentence first, so that the couple's four young daughters will have at least one parent caring for them during the years the Giudices spend in prison. The question of whether her husband is deported to Italy after prison -- he came to the U.S. when he was 1, but never became a citizen -- remains open.
Before sentencing, Teresa broke down in tears and told the judge, "'I am more sorry than anyone will ever know," according to a Tweet from reporter Vicki Hyman, who was covering the trial and racing in and out of the courtroom all day to Tweet updates to followers and diehard "RHONJ" fans.
"My four daughters are my life. I don't care about the TV show," Teresa reportedly told the judge.