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'Real Housewives of New Jersey' star begins prison sentence

A police officer talks with the driver of a truck carrying children from the home of Teresa Giudice, a cast member of Bravo's "Real Housewives of New Jersey," and her husband Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in the Towaco section of Montville Township, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Teresa Giudice of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" reality television series surrendered on Monday to begin a 15-month prison sentence for fraud and hiding income to support a lavish lifestyle, according to her lawyer's office and a prison spokesman.

Giudice and her husband, Giuseppe Giudice of Towaco, New Jersey, entered plea deals in U.S. District Court in March, admitting to bankruptcy fraud and lying to obtain loans.

She was sentenced to 15 months in prison, and he received a 41-month sentence.

Giudice surrendered at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, a low-security facility, according to the office of her lawyer, James J. Leonard Jr., and a prison spokesman.

Giudice was ordered to serve her sentence first, followed by her husband, so their four daughters will have child care.

"She was ready," Leonard said in a statement to NJ.com. "Teresa is a very strong woman, she won't have any problems in there."

Giuseppe Giudice, an Italian citizen better known as Joe, is expected to be deported when he completes his sentence.

He also pleaded guilty to failure to file tax returns on income totaling nearly $1 million.

The Giudices appeared in six seasons of the Bravo channel show, reveling in their luxury lifestyle and spending lavishly on their children and themselves.

In the first episode, Teresa Giudice paid $120,000 in cash to furnish a room in their house styled after a French chateau.

In their plea deals, they admitted that from 2001 through 2008, they submitted fraudulent applications for mortgages and other loans, falsely claiming to have substantial salaries.

Teresa Giudice applied for a $121,500 mortgage in 2001 by submitting fake W-2 forms and pay stubs, prosecutors said.

In 2005, she falsely claimed to be working as a real estate agent making $15,000 a month to obtain a $361,250 mortgage, when she was actually unemployed, they said.

The couple filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, concealing businesses they owned, income from rental property, and Teresa Giudice’s income from the "Housewives" show, prosecutors said.

 

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