Does Prison for Real Housewives Stars Teresa and Joe Giudice Really Send a Message?


I suppose on some level it's always a good thing when a Real Housewives couple gets sent to jail. But in the case of Teresa and Joe Giudice, who starred in The Real Housewives of New Jersey, it seems particularly appropriate.

Convicted of conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud, Joe will be going away to federal prison for 41 months. Teresa will be sent packing for 15 months.

The couple had pleaded guilty in March, admitting they hid assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitted 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.

Despite the admonitions, the judge gave Teresa Giudice a sentence below the agreed-upon range in her plea agreement, 21 to 27 months. She cited "significant mitigating circumstances" including the Giudices' four daughters, Teresa Giudice's aging parents and the fact that she had a lesser role in the conspiracy than her husband.

Press reports indicate that Joe got a sentence in the middle of his range, partly because he did charitable work in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene.

Yet this part of the saga bothers me a bit:

"We prosecute a lot of white-collar crime," [U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman] said. "The fact that she's a celebrity played no role in what her punishment was. But we do believe that when people like Teresa Giudice and Giuseppe Giudice are investigated, prosecuted and sentenced for these types of crimes that it does send a message to everyone who's watching."

More here.

What is it that movie mogul Sam Goldwyn used to say? "If you want to send a message, call Western Union."

I'm dubious that this sort of case sends much of a message (and given that one of the defendants got less than her plea deal, it's far from clear what the message might be). It's always appalling, of course, when celebrities or well-connected folks get away with stuff the rest of us would get nailed for, but the idea that such weird, rare, and random events as a trial of reality TV stars will change criminal behavior strikes me as pretty sketchy.

Indeed, it smacks of the same sort of delusional myth-making by which Happy Days auteur Gary Marshall claimed that requests for library cards increased "500 percent" after Fonzie applied for one in an episode of the show. Sorry, guys, but that just ain't how television (or press coverage of trials) work.

NEXT: Judge Tosses Out Manslaughter Charge Against Cop Who Killed Girl

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  1. Martha Stewart, sister gone bad. In the joint, she was known as Stew the Shiv.

    1. Martha is one tough broad. I bet she owned the joint.

      1. Don’t put on airs
        If youse not billionaires.
        No, don’t do it.

    2. “Prison ain’t so bad. You can make sangria in the terlet. ‘Course it’s shank or be shanked.”

      1. If I ran MSLO’s PR, I’d have played up the Sister Gone Bad angle like crazy, up to and including her going into rap.

      2. ::Sob sob::

        Of course!

    3. I used to hate Martha Fucking Stewart before she went to prison. Now she’s definitely on my living-or-dead dinner party list (along with Snoop Dogg, Nick Offerman, and Ben Franklin).

      1. She should write a column called “Miss Prison Manners.”

      2. I had a friend who told me to buy as much of her stock as possible the day she was convicted because she would be back. And damned if he wasn’t right.

        1. I don’t know what happened to her in the joint, or what she learned, but she is way more natural and fun on camera than she was before the conviction.

          1. Running a stable of con prostitutes will do that.

          2. Did you ever watch the show her daughter and her fat friend used to do making fun of old Martha Stewart episodes “Whatever Martha”? It was actually really funny. Stewart owns the rights to those shows and her daughter could have never made her show had Stewart not agreed to it. Allowing her daughter to have an entire showing doing a MST 3000 Act at her expense really showed a lot of self awareness on Stewart’s part I think. Strange to say but prison seems to have agreed with her.

            1. Never heard of it, but I just looked it up on YT, and the videos are actually hosted on Martha’s account!

              1. Watch them. They are really funny.

          3. They did a full cavity search and someone pulled the stick out of her ass.

  2. Does this individual case send a message? Not really. Cases like this as a whole most certainly do. If Nick doesn’t think so, then Nick is skeptical of incentives. If you don’t think cases like this in general send a message, then make a policy that fraud cases involving celebrities or couples with school age kids will not longer be prosecuted and see how many more people fitting that description start committing fraud. It will some number well north of zero.

    1. I think the “Gold Rush” episode where the kid miner got shut down for basically nothing made quite the impact. If you can’t go out to the least populated part of America and dig holes (as has been done for a couple of centuries) without some OSHA dicks raiding and shutting you down, nowhere is safe.

      They also got the logging dudes from the salvage logging shows. Jesse James got busted by Commiefornia for smog issues. Martha Stewart. They are making the point that nobody’s safe. It’s working, I’m scared.

  3. “Joe Giudice”

    You have got to be kidding.

    1. I am assuming that is pronounced “Gee-yoo-dee-chey”….

      But that his friends still called him, “Joey the Guido”. Because, come on.

      1. In Italian it’s “joo-DEE-chay” in New Jersey it’s “JOO-dice”.

  4. Does Prison for Real Housewives Stars Teresa and Joe Giudice Really Send a Message?

    Well, it did for me: “Please don’t watch our show.”

    I’ve heeded my inner-voice’s warnings about watching it or even capturing a small glimpse of it and I am pleased to confirm it was right all along.

    1. I always thought “Real Housewives of…” would be a great porno series for the Playboy network or some pay internet site. Without the porn, however, I can’t figure out why anyone would want to watch such a show. Its like a porn movie with all the good parts taken out.

      1. When I first heard about it I thought it was porn. Lost all interest after finding out I was wrong and that seems like a wise decision.

      2. The worst is “Braxton Family Values”. If I wanna watch a bunch of fat black chicks get all up in each other’s faces, I’ll just hop on the 5 bus.

    2. They are screeching harpys. I can’t even be in the same room when my wife (for whatever reason) watches this crap. Just the noises are repulsive to me.

  5. The Vikings were so fucking bad last night, I actually watched about 1/2 an episode of whatever the hell Real Housewives franchise was airing on Bravo.

    1. I am not really sure what the people of Minnesota did to deserve having both Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder on the roster at the same time. Whatever it was, it must have been really awful.

      1. Bridgewater look great last week, but he’s injured now?

        What really grinds my gears is they held the team hostage to make the taxpayers buy the Wilfs a new stadium, and look at what they get out of the deal: a team that is shittier than ever. A team so shitty that Jared Allen would rather play for the fucking Bears.

        1. Is it really an outdoor stadium? Man, that’s going to be great in the winter, if true. I love snow games. And subzero pain games.

          1. They are just playing outdoors until the new dome is built. It is going to be another depressing dome.

              1. Somewhere, the spirits of Bud Grant, Alan Page, Chuck Foreman, Fran Tarkenton, Karl Kassulke, Carl Eller and others are meeting up to form a storm that will purge the blight that is modern Minneapolis/St. Paul.

                /former Vikes fan as a kid cause the Lions sucked back then, too

        2. And to think they gave up Percy Harvin to the Seahawks too.

        3. There are a few people on here who will actually defend Cassel and Ponder. Cassel is the worst quarterback in NFL history ever to start a significant number of games. I am constantly amazed at how teams keep giving him a chance. And Ponder might be even worse, though he apparently doesn’t have pictures of Roger Gadell with a tranny hooker in a New Jersey hotel room like Cassel does since even the Vikings will only let him near the field as a last resort.

      2. “Whatever it was, it must have been really awful.”

        I’m thinking it was electing Franken to the Senate.

  6. In other news Neil deGrasse Tyson is official a long con comedy act that would make Andy Kaufman green with envy. DeGrasse Tyson explained in an interview how he really would rather not be out talking to his adoring cult of followers. He just does that as a public service. He would ranter be doing other things. He explains:

    Doing scientific research. Writing books. Playing with my kids. Having a play-date with my wife. Eating homemade very-buttery popcorn while watching a movie curled up on the couch with the family. Reading antiquarian science books. Taking notes for my next book with quill and fountain pens by candlelight. Attending Broadway plays and musicals. Listening to jazz and classical music. Drinking malted milkshakes. Cooking dinners that are fancier than the day of the week deserves. Drinking a bottle of wine that is just a little more expensive than can be realistically justified. And cooking & eating waffles for breakfast. e.g.…..-c-w-cooke

    If that is not a long con parody of the smug gentry liberal douche bag, parody no longer exists. My compliments Mr. Tyson.

    1. Hew really is a smug douchebag.

    2. What is that? An OK Cupid profile?

      1. +the Internets

        Few things make me laugh out loud. But that did.

    3. Eating homemade very-buttery popcorn while watching a movie curled up on the couch



  7. I don’t really care if there was a ‘message’ or not.

    These douches tried to defraud their creditors.

    Put them on a poverty budget until every creditor is paid every dime (including interest.)

    1. My wife watched a few episodes of their show early on, before I vetoed any more of that crap. But I remember thinking, “these people are fucking morons, how the hell do they manage to have so much money?” Now I know, they fucking stole it.

      1. Kind of like Harry Reid, the Clintons, others.

        1. Except Harry, the Clintons, etc. will never be held accountable.

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