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If you watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey on Bravo, then you’re familiar with Joe and Teresa Giudice. Love them or hate them, they have been the stars of the show since it began in 2009. Lately, however, Joe and Teresa have been making headlines for different reasons.
In 2011, Joe was charged with using his brother’s identification to get his driver’s license after his was suspended due to a DUI.
This week, Joe’s trial date was set for November 19. The official charges he is facing are wrongfully using identifying information of another, and forgery. He faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
That’s not all though.
On July 29, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced in a shocking press release that he was handing down a 39-count indictment against both Joe and Teresa. The indictment claims that the Giudices committed mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and made false statements on loan applications. The indictment also charges Joe with failure to file tax returns from 2004 – 2008. He allegedly earned almost $1 million during that time period, yet failed to pay any taxes.
If convicted, Joe and Teresa could face up to 50 years in prison. 50 YEARS!
But could they really? It seems like every week you hear about a celebrity skating out of serving any prison time, so I’m curious as to whether the same will happen with Joe and Teresa.
Nancy Grace appeared on Watch What Happens Live last week and told Andy Cohen that she DOES think the Giudices will serve prison time.
I think that they (the charges) ARE founded, sadly for the franchise, and I think that they were in it together, and you know what? You can get away with shoplifting, maybe stealing a car, but don’t mess with the Feds. When it comes to money, never mess with the tax man, never mess with the Feds. Alright? They have no mercy. I predict they’re going down, and just as Martha Stewart was used, I think they will be used as an example to other people.
While Nancy seems confident that the judge will throw the book at them, US Weekly spoke with an attorney who thinks that although they might serve jail time, he doesn’t think it will be that much.
John J. Carney, a former federal prosecutor specializing in economic crime, told the magazine, “There are countless factors that could impact their actual sentences, but the risk of serving time is real, especially if they go to trial and lose.” Carney said that while every case is different, in similar cases 18 to 36 months is possible.
18 – 36 months sounds a heck of a lot more doable than 50 years.
I have yet to find anyone who thinks they may just serve probation, with no prison time. Even Teresa’s own attorney thinks jail time is a real possibility. Henry Klingmen told CBS News, “We hope that she’s vindicated and spends no time in jail, but it’s a federal case and there’s always a risk of jail.”
Joe and Teresa have four young daughters, so the the thought of those girls having to go without their parents for any length of time is troubling. When asked how they’re dealing with the charges, Teresa told Andy Cohen that they’re trying their best to maintain a normal life.
The trial for the federal charges is set to begin in February.
UPDATE: 11/26/13 7:40 AM
Joe and Teresa have been hit with two additional fraud charges – one count of bank fraud and one count of loan application fraud. The New York Daily News is reporting that authorities believe Joe and Teresa prepared a mortgage loan application that claimed Teresa worked as a real estate agent and made $15,000 a month. At the time, authorities say she was not employed.
Now their total charge count is 41.
UPDATE: 3/4/14 11:20 AM
Joe and Teresa agreed to plead guilty to their charges while they were in court this morning.
As part of their plea deal, Teresa faces less than two years in prison, and Joe faces at least three years, as well as possible deportation, since he is an Italian citizen.
That’s a whole lot better than if they had gone to trial and lost, but it’s still prison time.
No word on when their sentencing will be.
– Teresa Giudice, Joe Guidice Indicted: How Much Prison Time Could They Serve?
– Forgery trial for ‘Real Housewives’ star Joe Giudice set for Nov. 19
– Teresa Giudice Opens Up About Legal Troubles: “I’m Not in Denial”
– Teresa & Joe Giudice Tell Andy Cohen: We Have Never Lived Beyond Our Means
– Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice Update: “Real Housewives of New Jersey” stars plead not guilty to federal fraud charges