Two of the stars of Bravo’s popular “Real Housewives” franchise are facing prison terms and fines after pleading guilty Tuesday in federal court to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and to three counts of bankruptcy fraud.
Prosecutors say Teresa Giudice, 41, faces up to 27 months in prison, while her husband Giuseppe (Joe) Giudice, 43, faces up to nearly four years, and possible deportation because he is an Italian citizen, Reuters reports
. They must also forefeit money obtained by fraud.
Joe Giudice also pleaded guilty to failing to file tax returns on income totaling nearly $1 million.
The Giudices have appeared in five seasons of the reality show “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” where they “reveled in their luxury lifestyle and spent lavishly on their children and themselves,” according to Reuters. “In the first episode, Teresa Giudice paid $120,000 in cash to furnish a room in their house styled after a French chateau.”
Teresa has also appeared as a contestant on NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice,” where she re-enacted real-life scenes from her Bravo show, including upending a table in a fit of rage.
“In their plea deals, the couple admitted that from 2001 through 2008, they submitted fraudulent applications for mortgages and other loans, falsely claiming to have substantial salaries,” Reuters reports. “In September 2001, Teresa Giudice applied for a $121,500 mortgage by falsely claiming she worked as an executive assistant and submitting fake W-2 forms and fake pay stubs, prosecutors said. In 2005, for a $361,250 mortgage, she falsely claimed to be working as a real estate agent making $15,000 a month, when in truth she was unemployed, they said.
“In 2009, they filed for bankruptcy protection, concealing businesses they owned, income from rental property, and Teresa Giudice's income from the ‘Housewives’ show, prosecutors said.”
"Today I took responsibility for a series of mistakes I made several years ago," Teresa Giudice said in a statement read by her attorney, Henry Klingeman. "I am heartbroken that this is affecting my family, especially my four young daughters, who mean more to me than anything in the world."
Their sentencing is scheduled for July 8.