‘Housewives’ stars plead guilty to fraud charges
(CNN) — Two stars of the popular Bravo reality TV show “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” pleaded guilty Tuesday to several federal fraud charges, including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and lying on mortgage and loan applications.
Teresa Giudice, 41, and her husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, 43, originally pleaded not guilty to the charges last year.
The pair will be sentenced July 8. New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman told reporters at a news conference that his office will likely recommend sentencing within the current guidelines, which would mean up to 46 months behind bars for Joe Giudice and a maximum sentence of 27 months for Teresa Giudice. Their attorneys said at that same news conference that they plan to ask the judge for probation.
Joe Giudice, who is an Italian citizen, could face immigration proceedings and be removed from the United States as a result of his guilty pleas, according to the judge. His attorney, Miles Feinstein, told reporters that his biggest concern now is making sure that doesn’t happen.
The Giudices are accused of exaggerating their income while applying for loans before “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” debuted in 2009. The indictment against them also states the couple hid their fortunes later, while filing for bankruptcy.
They each pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of bankruptcy fraud by concealment of assets, one count of bankruptcy fraud by false oaths, and one count of bankruptcy fraud by false declarations. Joe Giudice also pleaded guilty to one count of failure to file a tax return.
Teresa Giudice’s plea agreement requires her to fork over $200,000 at the time of her sentencing. The plea agreements also require the Giudices to forfeit money they obtained via conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and bankruptcy fraud, in an amount to be determined by the court at sentencing.
In a statement released by attorney Henry Klingeman Tuesday, Teresa Giudice said she was taking “responsibility for a series of mistakes” she 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,” her statement said.
CNN’s Lena Jakobsson contributed to this report.