Joe Giudice and Teresa Giudice appeared at a courthouse in Newark, N.J., today to face sentencing in their fraud case.
Joe Giudice was sentenced to what amounts to three-and-a-half years in prison. Teresa Giudice is expected to be sentenced later today. If she is sent to prison as well the sentences would be staggered.
The reality TV stars were charged with several counts of loan and bankruptcy fraud last year. They pleaded guilty this past March.
At their sentencing today, the Giudice's defense team argued that "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" does not show Joe Guidice for who he really is. They criticized the reality show for "editing situations to create fake drama" and said that they advised the couple to stop appearing on the show, but because the Giudices lacked an alternate source of income, they did not listen. In the end, the attorneys asked for leniency, saying a harsh sentence would cause "untold trauma on the children."
However, prosecutors noted that in her pre-sentencing list of assets, Teresa Giudice failed to include several cars, ATVs and other items, claimed no jewelry and said her $3 million home is filled with just $25,000 worth of furniture. Meanwhile, Joe Giudice failed to file tax returns for the last several years, despite the requirement to do so in his plea agreement.
As a result, U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas declined to be lenient with sentencing. "It feels," she said, "like things have been hidden."
"I do wish you luck," Salas told Joe Giudice after she announced the sentence. "You have made some serious mistakes and you have to pay for them. But you have a lot to live for."
Salas also gave both Joe and Teresa Giudice advice after the defense argued that the fraud happened, in part, because the couple tried to keep up appearances with their circle of friends.
"Your four daughters need to understand discipline. If you don't have it you shouldn't spend it," she said. "If they won't like you because you're not driving a Benz or walking on Jimmy Choos or Manolo Blahniks then they're not your friends."