Teresa and Joe Giudice of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” fame pleaded guilty to federal fraud in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.
The stars of the lavish Bravo reality series reportedly took a plea deal and admitted to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and three types of bankruptcy fraud, according to the Associated Press. They both face time in prison.
Joe Giudice, whose real name is Giuseppe, also pleaded guilty to failing to file a tax return for 2004. The Italian citizen also admitted to not filing taxes on income of about $1 million between 2004 and 2008.
In November, the couple originally pleaded not guilty to two additional charges added to the mountain of charges in their initial 39-count July indictment, alleging that in order to maintain their lavish lifestyle, they conspired to commit financial fraud to obtain mortgages and other loans, and hid assets and income when they were going through bankruptcy proceedings in 2009.
On Tuesday, the usually combative couple appeared quiet in court after showing up at the Newark, N.J., courthouse hand-in-hand, reports said.
The Giudices are scheduled for sentencing on July 8 with Teresa Giudice looking at 21 to 27 months in prison and Joe Giudice potentially facing 37 to 46 months, according to federal sentencing guidelines.
Joe Giudice’s attorney, Miles Feinstein, told the Newark Star-Ledger that he would seek probation for his client, an Italian citizen who came to the United States as an infant. Feinstein told the Associated Press that “it would be a grave injustice, and inhumane, for him to be deported” after he serves his prison sentence.
Teresa Giudice’s attorney, Henry Klingeman, told reporters that he would seek probation for his client, saying that she bears less responsibility than her husband for their decade of fraud and adding that she needs to take care of her four daughters.
“Today I took a responsibility for a series of mistakes I made several years ago,” the 41-year-old said in a statement that Klingeman read aloud to reporters after the hearing.
“I am heartbroken that this is affecting my family,” her statement said. “Especially my four young daughters, who mean more to me than anything in the world.”
The reality star said that she would no longer speak specifically about the case outside of court at the recommendation of her attorney and “out of deference to the government and our legal system.”
Incidentally, the couple’s legal battle has been a plot point of their show, which is currently taping its sixth season.
“RHONJ” producer Andy Cohen previously said the legal drama would play out in the popular franchise’s upcoming season.
“With Teresa, we’re shooting New Jersey now and that’s very much the reality of what she’s going through,” he told the Star-Ledger in February. “It will very much be a part of the show next season. We cover it in the way that we can.”
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