The couple, who are featured on the Bravo reality show “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” each posted a $500,000 bond after turning themselves in to federal authorities.
They must return to federal court in New Jersey, Aug 14, for arraignment. In the meantime, neither is allowed to leave New York or New Jersey, and both have surrendered their passports.
The case has potentially far more serious ramifications for Teresa than Joe, because he’s not a U.S. Citizen. He still retains his Italian citizenship and would likely be deported if convicted on some or all of the charges.
As a U.S. citizen, however, Teresa would almost certainly be sent to the Big House, and not the McMansion she shares with Joe on the show. In addition, she would face potentially millions of dollars in fines.
The first tip off about their possible defense strategy came when it was announced that the Gudices had hired separate defense lawyers.
Joe Giudice is being represented by Miles Feinstein, while Teresa is being represented by Henry E. Klingeman. That strongly suggests that they are going to pursue separate defense strategies.
According to legal sources, the best possible outcome would be for Teresa to convince the court that Joe made all the financial decisions.
She could argue that she was an unwitting and dutiful wife who did what she was told without knowledge or understanding of what she was signing, whether it was tax forms or mortgage applications. If she can convince a jury, she could beat the charges.
There’s also a legal defense in tax law known as “Innocent Spouse Relief.” Teresa could be spared from paying additional tax or penalties if her husband failed to report income, reported income improperly or claimed improper deductions or credits, according to IRS guidelines. But she must meet certain qualifications.
Of course, Joe would still be on the hook. But if he’s deported to Italy, he’s unlikely to face any consequences and no jail time.
The Italian government generally refuses to enforce U.S. tax laws, or laws involving domestic financial fraud, especially if the crimes solely involve institutions. Since there are no victims and no one was injured, Joe is unlikely to spend a day in jail.
So with the right defense and a sympathetic jury, the Guidice’s conceivably could escape relatively unscathed.