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‘RHONJ’ couple get to take turns in the fed pen

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

UPSHOT: With four daughters to care for, Teresa and Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” get to take turns in federal prison mortgage and bankruptcy fraud, beginning next year, following their sentencings today in Newark.

After that, he could be deported.

A federal ordered Teresa Giudice, 42, to report to the Bureau of Prisons on Jan. 5 to begin serving 15 months.

As soon as she’s released, 44-year-old Giuseppe Giudice goes in for 41 months.

“The Giudices together deceived financial institutions with patently false loan applications; were dishonest when they sought the protection of the bankruptcy court and hid assets and income from the trustee; and Giuseppe Giudice cheated the government by failing to pay taxes on years of significant income,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

“When they pleaded guilty, both admitted swearing to statements they knew were lies,” Fishman said. “Prison is the appropriate penalty for these serious financial crimes.”

“Reality hit home today for Giuseppe and Teresa Giudice,” added Jonathan D. Larsen, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Newark Field Office. “They are now both convicted felons with prison sentences to serve. Choosing lies over the truth when dealing with the IRS, banks, and the bankruptcy court will not be tolerated.”

Unlike the state criminal justice system, federal authorities require convicts to serve nearly their entire terms. Some have their sentences shaved slightly but ordinarily when the terms are much longer.

In addition to the prison terms, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas sentenced the Giudices to two years of supervised release each, ordered the couple to forfeit $414,588 and fined Joe Giudice $10,000 and his wife $8,000.

The likelihood also exists that Joe Giudice — who has lived in the U.S. since he was 1 — could be deported back to Italy, where he has citizenship.

The Towaco couple pleaded guilty earlier this year. Federal sentencing guidelines called for 37 to 46 months in prison for Joe Giudice and a little under two years for his wife ( CLICK HERE to read the GIUDICE GUILTY PLEAS ).

Each sought to have their cases dealt with separately, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark required that they negotiate their plea deals as a couple.

A federal grand jury last November added two counts to original charges filed four months earlier that accused the couple of lying on applications for mortgages and other loans when they didn’t have much money, and then trying to hide assets — including nearly $1 million in income — during bankruptcy proceedings.

The 41-count superseding indictment included original charges of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud by making false statements on loan applications, as well as with bankruptcy fraud. It also accused Joe Giudice of failing to file tax returns on nearly $1 million of income for the tax years 2004 through 2008.

Both pleaded guiltyto 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.

According to Fishman: “The two additional counts stem from a $361,250 mortgage loan that Teresa Giudice obtained in July 2005. In the course of obtaining the loan, she and Giuseppe Giudice prepared a loan application which falsely stated that Teresa Giudice was employed as a realtor and that she had a monthly salary of $15,000. Teresa Giudice was not employed outside the home at the time.”

According to the initial indictment, the Bravo television show couple submitted bogus mortgage and other loan applications and supporting documents for seven years, beginning in 2001, that “falsely represented that they were employed and/or receiving substantial salaries when, in fact, they were either not employed or not receiving such salaries.”

For example, it says, Teresa Giudice applied for a mortgage loan of $121,500 in September 2001 “for which she submitted a loan application that falsely claimed that she was employed as an executive assistant. She also submitted fake W-2 Forms and fake paystubs purportedly issued by her employer.”

The indictment also cites specific instances of alleged bank and loan application fraud.

On Oct. 29, 2009, the Giudices filed a petition for individual Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark. Over the next few months, the indictment says, they filed several amendments to the bankruptcy petition.

As part of the bankruptcy filings, the Giudices were required to disclose to the government trustee, among other things, assets, liabilities, income, and any anticipated increase in income. The indictment alleges that they “intentionally concealed businesses they owned, income they received from a rental property, and Teresa Giudice’s true income from the television show.”

They also hid income from website sales and personal and magazine appearances, it says. What’s more, the government says, the Giudices “concealed their anticipated increase in income from the then-upcoming Season Two of the Bravo television show.”

Fishman credited special agents of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, New York Region; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation; Region 3 U.S. Trustee Roberta DeAngelis and the Newark office of the U.S. Trustee, with the investigation that led to the indictments.

The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan W. Romankow and Rachael Honig.

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