Teresa Giudice Turns Herself In to Begin Prison Sentence

by Rosalyn Oshmyansky and Jackie Willis 3:55 PM PST, January 05, 2015
Playing Teresa Giudice Turns Herself In to Begin Prison Sentence

Teresa Giudice started her 15-month sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn., surrendering just before 3 a.m. on Monday morning -- seven hours ahead of her scheduled intake.

"She was ready," Teresa's lawyer, James J. Leonard Jr., said in a statement to NJ Advance Media. "Teresa is a very strong woman, she won't have any problems in there."

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The reality star was spotted in the back of a black SUV leaving her Montville Township mansion just around midnight. Her attorney was driving the vehicle. "When we arrived at Danbury, everyone we encountered was extremely courteous and respectful," Leonard said.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star was sentenced on Oct. 2, 2014 to serve time behind bars after she and her husband Joe Giudice pleaded guilty to fraud charges in March 2014. The 39-count indictment filed in July 2013 included bank fraud, mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud. Teresa and her husband, both age 42, earned more than $5 million from their fraudulent behavior.

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Joe was sentenced to 41 months in prison, to be served after his wife completes her sentence and must pay $414,000 in restitution. The couple are serving their time separately so one of them can be home with their daughters. 

Teresa admitted to Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen in October 2014 that the sentence came as a shock to the couple. She confessed to having sleepless nights and "needs to wake up."

"I do need to read things before I sign them," she said. "I do need to understand things before I sign them. I'm a trustworthy person, and sometimes I take what people say and I just believe them, and I trust them. And I can't do that anymore."

Leading up to Monday, Teresa had been spending her last days of freedom with her family and friends. The mother of four took in her daughter Gia's 3KT's holiday show on Dec. 26 and sat down with her friend Dina Manzo to make a New Year's resolution to stop eating bad carbs in 2015. 

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While it's uncertain what she'll be eating behind bars, she will be serving time at the same prison that inspired the hit Netflix show Orange Is the New Black.

Teresa and Joe's teenage daughter Gia has been tweeting in lead-up to her mother's prison sentence. "Support system is unreal," she wrote on Sunday, accompanied by a smiling face emoji and a growing heart, "#soblessed."

Cristianna Cardinale, a member of Gia's girl group 3KT, also posted a photo of Gia and Teresa, tweeting: "The 2 strongest girls I know and nothing's gonna change that."

Teresa assured Andy during their WWHL chat that she'll "be fine" in prison, saying, "I don't care about [my appearance]. I'll just slick my hair back and go about my day."