Teresa and Joe Giudice Plead Not Guilty: Will 'RHONJ' Stars Go To Prison For 50 Years? [PHOTOS]

on August 14 2013 5:13 PM
  • Teresa and Joe Giudice
    Prosecutor's are requesting that Bravo turn over unaired footage of Teresa and Joe Giudice. Reuteres
  • Teresa and Joe Giudice
    Teresa and Joe Giudice plead not guilty in Newark, N.J. on Wednesday. Reuters
  • Teresa and Joe Giudice
    Teresa and Joe Giudice plead not guilty in Newark, N.J. on Wednesday. Reuters
  • Teresa and Joe Giudice
    Teresa and Joe Giudice plead not guilty in Newark, N.J. on Wednesday. Reuters
  • Teresa Giudice
    Prosecutors are pushing for "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice and husband Joe to serve time. Facebook
  • TeresaGiudice
    Despite prior drama with her "Real Housewives" cast mates, Teresa Giudice looked happy on the beach with former co-star Dina Manzo this weekend after she and her husband were charged on multiple counts of fraud. Instagram
  • Teresa Giudice
    Joe and Teresa Giudice. Twitter
  • Giudice
    Teresa Giudice is reportedly concerned that the newest season of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" portrays her as a bad mother. Facebook
  • Teresa Giudice
    “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice reported to RadarOnline that she was involved in a bar fight in the Dominican Republic on Feb. 23. Radar reported that the altercation happened at the Hard Rock in Punta Cana when Giudice was partying with “Real Housewives” cast members and sprayed a popped bottle of champagne all over nearby patrons. Facebook/Teresa Giudice
1 of 9

“Real Housewives of New Jersey” stars Teresa and Joe Giudice pleaded not guilty to multiple federal fraud charges in Newark Wednesday, Access Hollywood wrote. The Bravo stars entered their pleas through their attorneys. The Giudices are facing a 39-count indictment including bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and making false statements on loan applications.

Many “RHONJ” fans are wondering if the Giudices are being picked on because they’re celebrities, and whether they really will go to prison for 50 years if convicted. White-collar crime expert Al Mendez, director of the White Collar Criminal Law and Governmental Investigations Practice at Abrams Fensterman in New York City, answered some of the most popular questions regarding the Bravo stars' case in a phone interview.

Mendez started out by saying he could not “speak directly” about the case, but said the charges against the reality stars must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” by the federal court.

If convicted, Mendez said it’s possible the Giudices could be sentenced to 50 years in prison, but that it wasn’t definite. Each charge against the Giudices carries its own sentence, but that doesn’t mean the judge will decide to make the couple serve each one consecutively as opposed to concurrently. Adding up prison sentences “is not a reality in the federal system,” he said.

Each charge carries a certain amount of points, which is equated to the amount of jail time. In the past it was mandatory for judges to use this system when sentencing a guilty party, but now the points are seen as a guideline. “The judge might deviate from the advisory guidelines and their sentence could be less,” he said, and added that the number “50” is something that looks good in press releases. “Sentencing is tricky and sophisticated in the federal courts,” the legal expert said.

There’s been a rumor floating around the Web that Teresa could avoid time in the slammer if she divorced Joe and testified against him, but Mendez said that wouldn’t help her if she’s found guilty. “She’s been charged with conspiracy,” he said. They are accused of agreeing to commit fraud, so spousal privilege would extend even through a divorce since they were together at the time.

Teresa won’t go down just because of her husband; that is if the government can prove she had intent to commit fraud. “Intent is a key element the government has to prove beyond reasonable doubt to convict someone,” the legal expert stated.

It was recently revealed that Joe is not a U.S. citizen, which could end up with him being deported back to Italy, Mendez said.