Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

'Housewives' Star's New Reality: Prison

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

'Housewives' Star's New Reality: Prison

Article excerpt

This past Tuesday -- six days before Teresa Giudice must surrender to federal authorities -- the reality star popped up in a rather surreal video on Glam, a health/beauty/lifestyle channel on YouTube, sharing her New Year's resolutions.

"Going forward, I would like to stop eating bad carbs," Giudice breezily tells Dina Manzo of Franklin Lakes, her pal, fellow Real Housewife of New Jersey and co-star in the video. They both resolve to "build" their derrieres -- through regular exercise -- and Giudice pledges to "keep being around positive people that make me happy and just keep the negative out."

Manzo's final resolution, which Teresa appears to heartily embrace: "Let's not let life get in the way and spend more time together this year."

As the whole world knows, however, in 2015 life is going to really get in the way for Giudice. In October, she was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison but allowed to celebrate another Halloween and Christmas season with her family before turning herself in on Monday. Teresa and her husband, Joe, even got to see their oldest daughter Gia's girl group perform a holiday show in Freehold, Bruce Springsteen's hometown, on Dec. 26.

But now, it's time for Teresa to face the music.

The 42-year-old reality star must self-surrender by Monday to the federal Bureau of Prisons after pleading guilty to mortgage and bankruptcy fraud charges. Joe was sentenced to three years and five months, which he will serve after his wife is released -- allowing the couple, who live in Montville, to care for their four daughters ages 5 to 13.

Teresa is likely to report to the federal minimum-security satellite camp for women in Danbury, Conn. On Oct. 22, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas told Teresa and her attorney that the Bureau of Prisons had designated Danbury for her.

The bureau, which can place inmates anywhere, declined to confirm that Danbury is where Teresa will serve her time.

"We wouldn't address it until the inmate actually surrenders or is brought to our custody," a spokesman said in an interview in late November. "What we try to do is put an inmate within 500 miles of their release address to facilitate that family-and-friends contact."

Within a few weeks of her surrender, the spokesman explained, the public will be able to go to the bureau's website, type in "Teresa Giudice" and find her projected release date. As of Friday afternoon, her status was: "Not in BOP custody. Release date: unknown."

"It usually takes maybe two to four weeks to get a release date, but once that's in there, you can track that and any changes online," the spokesman said.

Wherever Teresa ends up, she'll be living in dorm- or barracks- style housing with no locking cell doors or bars. Having to share a metal bunk with a stranger and keep all her belongings in a small locker will be a big adjustment for a woman coming from a 10,044- square-foot home with walk-in closets.

And Teresa, who was reportedly earning $650,000 plus bonuses each season on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," will be assigned a very low-paying job. Many prison jobs pay 12 cents to 40 cents an hour.

In the meantime, there are a lot of things we do not know about Teresa and her future -- and not only whether she will go to Danbury. Other unanswered questions include: Will she get others to help Joe with the girls? Will she write a tell-all book about her life in prison, as rumored? What is the future of "RHONJ"? (As of Tuesday, a Bravo representative had nothing to report.) Is Teresa hoping for a "RHONJ" spinoff series of her own when she is released?

On the flip side, here are some things that we do know about Teresa.

* She has a new lawyer, again. Now representing Teresa is James J. Leonard Jr., who is based in Atlantic City. He specializes in criminal defense work but has also negotiated contracts for "RHONJ" cast members Melissa and Joe Gorga, Teresa's sister-in-law and brother, as well as her cousins Kathy Wakile (and husband Rich) and Rosie Pierri. …

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