10:58 PM'Real Housewives' star Teresa Giudice begins prison sentence
One of New Jersey's reality TV stars exchanged her designer threads for prison garb.
Teresa Giudice, a cast member of Bravo's "Real Housewives of New Jersey," reported to a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, early Monday morning to begin serving a 15-month sentence for bankruptcy fraud.NJ.com reported the reality star left her mansion shortly after midnight and arrived at the prison around 3 a.m.
"She was ready," her lawyer said in a statement to NJ Advance Media. "Teresa is a very strong woman, she won't have any problems in there."
She and husband Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice pleaded guilty last year and admitted hiding assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitting phony loan applications to get some $5 million in mortgages and construction loans. Joe Giudice also pleaded guilty to failing to pay taxes totaling more than $200,000.
At the Giudices' sentencing in October, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas criticized the couple for not disclosing all their assets as required under their plea agreement, calling it "the same pattern of obstruction, concealment and manipulation as they showed in the bankruptcy case."
Still, Salas sentenced Teresa Giudice to a sentence below the range sought by the U.S. attorney's office and staggered her sentence with her husband's so they wouldn't be in prison at the same time and unable to care for their four daughters. Joe Giudice will serve his 41-month sentence after his wife's sentence is completed.
Joe Giudice is not an American citizen, and he faces an immigration hearing when he completes his sentence and likely will be deported. His attorney has said Giudice came to the U.S. as an infant and didn't know he wasn't an American citizen until he was an adult.
Joe Giudice also pleaded guilty in state court in October to unlawful use of identification in a case involving a bogus driver's license. His 18-month sentence will run concurrent with his federal sentence.
Last month, Teresa Giudice sued former attorney James Kridel, whose firm handled the couple's bankruptcy case, alleging legal malpractice and negligence.
Reached by phone last week, Kridel called the lawsuit "ridiculous" and denied the claims.
"We did what we were supposed to do," he said. "We can only rely on the facts that were provided to us. I don't wish her any ill will, but I would have preferred a 'thank you' rather than a lawsuit."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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