Reality celebrity couple sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to fraud charges

In March, celebrity couple Teresa and Joe Giudice pleaded guilty to hiding assets from bankruptcy court. According to CNN, the couple, known for their roles on “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” also entered guilty pleas for submitting phony applications in order to secure roughly $5 million in loans for construction and mortgages.

People in Minnesota and across the country who commit a white collar crime can face severe consequences for their actions, as the results of this case demonstrate.

The sentencing

A federal court handed down sentences in the Giudice case recently. Joe, who is not a U.S. citizen, was sentenced to prison for 41 months and fined $10,000. CNN notes that he could face deportation following the completion of his sentence. Teresa received a 15-month prison sentence and was fined $8,000. Additionally, the couple will have to forfeit $414,588. The Giudices have four daughters together, and their sentences will be staggered with Teresa serving first and then Joe entering prison when she is released.

Determining punishment

CNN reports that a federal prosecutor in the Giudice case stated the government viewed the punishment as fair. However, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers states that federal sentencing guidelines typically create unfair losses when someone is accused of white collar crime such as fraud. For example, there are minimum sentencing requirements a judge must hand down if someone is convicted of a certain crime, such as a two-year prison sentence for identity theft.

In most situations, such as the Giudice case, white collar crimes fall under federal jurisdiction. Many states, including Minnesota, carry their own sentencing requirements for those occasions when cases are pursued outside federal court. In addition to fines and prison time, someone convicted of white collar crime may have to pay restitution, forfeit money or property or even be placed on house arrest.

Defense options

There are several ways people accused of this type of crime may choose to defend themselves, including the following:

  • Entrapment – In some cases, a defendant may be able to prove that law enforcement coerced the criminal activity.
  • Duress – Defendants may demonstrate that they engaged in criminal behavior because they felt the threat of harm.
  • Absence of intent – If a defendant can prove there was no intent to commit a crime, the results could be favorable.

Some people, such as the Giudices, plead guilty to the charges. Doing so could result in a lesser sentence and fewer fines. However, people who are facing criminal charges should consult with an attorney in order to determine the best approach to the case.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.
Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.