Today, Teresa and Joe Giudice of The Real Housewives of New Jersey plead guilty to 9 of 41 counts of fraud in Newark Federal Court. The charges against the couple (including bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud and failure to file tax returns) have been highly publicized since their indictment in July 2013. Originally, Teresa and Joe entered “not guilty” pleas with the court, but today they’re singing a different tune.
We won’t know for sure what consequences Teresa and Joe will face until the sentencing hearing, scheduled for July 8. At this point, it appears Teresa could face up to 27 months in prison and Joe could be looking at up to 46 months behind bars. Teresa could also get off without any jail time and 5 years of probation but it looks like Joe will be going away for a minimum of 3 years. If both do get jail time, the judge could opt to stagger their sentences, keeping one parent at home with the kids while the other is behind bars. Teresa also agreed to pay $200,000 to the government at the time of sentencing. On top of that, they’ll be ponying up a lot more cash in restitution, the amount to be determined by the judge.
But wait, it gets worse. Since Joe Giudice is an Italian citizen, he could very likely be facing deportation upon completion of his sentence. An additional hearing after he finishes doing his time will determine if he can stay in the country. Federal Judge Esther Salas said this hearing will “likely result in … your being removed from the United States,” as she accepted the Giudice’s guilty pleas today.
What does all this mean for the future of The Real Housewives of New Jersey? I guess it all depends on what happens with Teresa. It certainly will mean a very dramatic Season 6 is in store for us as Bravo cameras will likely have captured today’s court appearance by the Giudices and may even feature interviews with Teresa about how she is feeling during this difficult time. Season 6 will likely air this summer which means Teresa could miss the reunion if she is behind bars.
However you feel about Teresa and Joe on RHONJ or about the crimes they have now plead guilty to, the real victims here are the couple’s young children: Gia, 13, Gabriella, 9, Miliani, 8, and Audriana, 4. As of this July they will be living without one or both of their parents for at least the next three years, and potentially much longer.
Teresa and Joe left the courtroom hand in hand today and did not speak with reporters. Their lawyer did read a statement on Teresa’s behalf:
“Today, I took responsibility for a series of mistakes I made several years ago,” she said. “I am heartbroken that this is affecting my family — especially my four young daughters, who mean more to me than anything in the world.”