Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Teresa Giudice will have to be a Housewife away from home for a while.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey star has been sentenced to 15 months in prison on fraud charges.
"I fully take responsibility for my actions," Teresa read from a letter in court, per the New Jersey Record. " I deeply love my family... My four daughters are my life."
She had been facing a possible term of 21 to 27 months behind bars. Earlier Thursday, husband Joe Giudice was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $414,000 in restitution for fraud and failure to file federal income tax returns.
Hit with a 39-count indictment in July 2013 (two additional counts were later filed as well), he and Teresa had pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud (and Joe pleaded to the tax evasion as well) back in March. Their sentencing was originally scheduled for July, but was postponed until September and then bumped till today.
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U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas previously stated that if she were to sentence Teresa to prison time, she would want the mother of four daughters to serve her time first so that Joe could stay with their kids—and apparently they'll get to spend the holidays together beforehand.
Teresa has been ordered to surrender Jan. 5, 2015, and Joe's term will not begin until she is released.
Joe, an Italian citizen, also faces the possibility of deportation upon the conclusion of his prison term.
Courtesy: Elizabeth Williams
"I stand here humiliated before the court and my family and society," he said in court before Salas lowered the sentencing boom. "I disgraced many people, including my wife and four daughters. I take full responsibility for my actions. I promise to be a better person."
Salas chided the couple from the bench but praised Joe as a parent and for his efforts to aid victims in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Sandy, which ripped through parts of New York and New Jersey in November 2012.
"What you did in this case doesn't define you as a man," the judge said.
The federal fraud case stemmed from the Giudices' 2009 bankruptcy filing, in which the couple were accused of failing to list all of their income and assets, including $110,000 they were promised when they signed up for Bravo's Real Housewives. Joe was also charged with five counts of failing to file income tax returns on roughly $1 million in earnings from 2004 until 2008.
"The indictment returned today alleges the Guidices lied to the bankruptcy court, to the IRS and to a number of banks," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement when the couple were charged. "Everyone has an obligation to tell the truth when dealing with the courts, paying their taxes and applying for loans or mortgages. That's reality."
Today after court, Fishman told reporters at a press conference, "The fact that she's a celebrity played no role in her punishment."
Neither Teresa nor Joe made any comment after court, but they'll be sitting down together with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live this Monday at 9 p.m. for their first interview post-sentencing.
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