U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas sentenced Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice to 15 months in federal prison, after giving her husband, Joe Giudice, a sentence of 41 months. The couple will be allowed to serve time separately so that one of them will be home with their four young daughters. The Judge also ordered that Mr. Giudice be fined $10,000, and that they both pay restitution of $414,588 for illegally obtained loans.
The Giudices pled guilty earlier this year to three counts of bankruptcy fraud as well as one count of mail and wire fraud conspiracy. The couple illegally obtained millions of dollars in loans and hid income and assets in their 2009 Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. In 2004, Mr. Giudice also pled guilty for failing to file his 2004 tax return.
The trouble for the Giudice couple began when they declared bankruptcy, citing millions of dollars of debt. When Mr. Giudice invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination after being questioned about his assets and income by his assigned Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee, the situation worsened. The Trustee made a criminal referral to the Justice Department, which oversees bankruptcy matters with the Office of the US Trustee, and eventually indictments were issued and the criminal prosecutions followed.
The ruling of Judge Salas leaves the Giudices responsible for all of their own debts, due to the denial of their Bankruptcy Discharge. Their debt is now approximately $13,500,000. Assets they still have include their New Jersey mansion worth $3.99 million, a home on the Jersey shore worth $315,000, and a rental property worth $179,000. In addition, they also owe money to credit card companies, contractors, the IRS, multiple banks, and creditors.
The moral of this “Real” story: Always tell the truth to your Bankruptcy Trustee. For more information about this or any other bankruptcy related matters, be sure to consult with skilled Bankruptcy counsel.