Joe Giudice’s Identity Theft and Forgery Trial Postponed Until 2014 (Updated November 18, 2013)
May 28, 2013 233 Comments
UPDATE 11/18/2013: According to the NJ.com on November 14, 2013 (as reported by the Montville Patch), Joe Giudice’s state court date for identity theft and forgery scheduled for November 19th will be put off until 2014 because the judge is wrapped up in another trial; and the state trial may be trumped by the federal trial for money fraud set for February 24, 2014:
After being arrested in March 2011, the court date set for next Tuesday will be put off until 2014.
And it’s been delayed, again.
Originally set for next Tuesday, the court date for Joe Giudice’s forgery charges—stemming from a March 2011 arrest—will be delayed until 2014 because Judge Greta Gooden-Brown is wrapped up in another trial, according to NJ.com.
The previous court date the date at the end of October was delayed because Giudice’s lawyer, Miles Feinstein, had a scheduling conflict and before that, it was set for the beginning of October, and prior to that, for mid July.
Giudice, husband of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast member and Montville resident Teresa Giudice, was arrested at his home in Towaco in March 2011 for fraudulently obtaining a state driver’s license from the Paterson branch of the Motor Vehicle Office in June 2010 using his brother’s ID. Giudice’s license was suspended at the time for a DUI.
He was indicted on these charges in December 2011. Also, the couple were indicted on 39 counts of various fraud and tax crimes on July 29, and could face up to 50 years behind bars if convicted. Joe Guidice, an Italian citizen, could be deported. Teresa and Joe Giudice entered not guilty pleas in a Newark federal court Aug. 14.
UPDATE 10/29/2013: According to NJ.com, Joe Giudice will go to trial for state forgery charges on November 19, 2013:
“Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Joe Giudice will go to trial for state forgery charges Nov. 19.
Giudice was charged in March 2011 with using his brother’s identification to get his driver’s license this previous summer after his own was suspended due to a DUI.
The most recent delay was due to a scheduling conflict for Giudice’s lawyer, Miles Feinstein, who was representing a man charged with murder in Sussex County. Feinstein has said that Giudice turned down several plea deals from prosecutors because they wanted him to serve substantially more prison time than other alleged offenders, and claimed his celebrity played a role in the decision to go after his client.
The charges are wrongfully using identifying information of another, which carries up to 10 years in state prison, and forgery, which carries up to 18 months in prison. Giudice and his wife Teresa also face federal bank and bankruptcy fraud charges that could put them behind bars for 50 years. They say they are innocent.
UPDATE 10/28/2013: On October 27, 2013, the Montville Patch reported that on October 28th Joe Giudice will have a trial date set unless he pleads guilty:
A conference hearing on a forgery charge is scheduled Monday for “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, who also is charged along with wife Teresa with a host of alleged federal fraud crimes, the Star-Ledger reports.
Unless the Giudice patriarch pleads guilty, the trial on forgery charges, which has been postponed a number of times, must finally be scheduled, according to Passaic County prosecutor Jay McCann.
Giudice is alleged to have used his brother’s identification to obtain a driver’s license in June 2010 while his license was suspended over a driving under the influence conviction that year. He was arrested in March 2011 and charged under New Jersey law for allegedly forging his wife’s signature.
The couple were indicted on 39 counts of various fraud and tax crimes on July 29, and could face up to 50 years behind bars if convicted. Joe Guidice, an Italian citizen, could be deported. Teresa and Joe Giudice entered not guilty pleas in a Newark federal court Aug. 14.
UPDATE 7/15/ 2013: According to NorthJersey.com (click link for video), Joe Giudice’s trial has been moved to October 28, 2013:
State Superior Court Judge Greta Gooden Brown set a new trial date for Oct. 28. Giudice’s trial was supposed to begin Monday but was postponed because defense attorney Miles Feinstein, of Clifton, said an unexpected scheduling change caused a conflict with a homicide trial in Sussex County.
Giudice, a 43-year-old Montville resident, allegedly used his brother Pietro’s identity in June 2010 to obtain a driver’s license at the Motor Vehicle Commission office in Paterson. Obtaining a false driver’s license in New Jersey is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Authorities allege that Giudice used marriage and birth certificates belonging to his 39-year-old brother to obtain the license. Giudice’s license was suspended at the time for driving while intoxicated after he flipped his pickup in Montville in January 2010.
The brothers’ alleged fraud came to light after Pietro Giudice was pulled over by Lincoln Park police. When the officer ran Pietro Giudice’s information through a dashboard computer, the search produced Joe Giudice’s photograph, authorities said.
Giudice is charged with wrongfully using identifying information of another person, a second-degree crime carrying 10 years in prison, and forgery, a fourth-degree crime that carries an 18-month maximum prison sentence. He is currently free on $50,000 bail.
UPDATE 7/10/2013: According to The Star-Ledger on July 9, 2013, Joe Giudice’s fraud and forgery trial has been postponed until at least October 2013:
The fraud and forgery trial of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Joe Giudice has been delayed yet again, this time because his attorney is tackling a homicide case expected to last several months.
Giudice, who faces up to 10 years in prison on the more serious charge of fraudulently obtaining a New Jersey driver’s license, was to go to trial July 15 in Passaic County. He was arrested more than two years ago after a police office pulled him over and discovered he allegedly had used his brother’s identification to get a driver’s license while his own was suspended due to a DUI.
Prosecutor Jay McCann said earlier in the week that he was prepared to move foward, but Giudice’s lawyer, Miles Feinstein, told the Star-Ledger today that his Sussex County homicide case, which dates to 2008, takes precedence, and that case is expected to go into October.
Giudice, who maintains his innocence, has turned down several plea deals from prosecutors because, Feinstein says, they were offering him substantially more prison time than other alleged offenders. “I think his celebrity is playing a tremendous role,” he says.
But McCann says his office received a referral from the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles about the case, and upon investigation, “we have an obligation to move forward, and that’s as simple as it is. It really has nothing to do with what Mr. Giudice does when he’s not obtaining a New Jersey driver’s license.”
Giudice’s wife is Bravo lightning rod Teresa Giudice. Although some of the couple’s legal woes have made it onscreen — notably Giudice’s DUI and their 2010 bankruptcy filing, the show has only obliquely referenced the prospect of Giudice’s prison time in this particular case. ”
UPDATE 5/28/2013: On May 28, 2013, a superior court judge set a July 15th trial date for Joe Giudice in charges that he used his brother’s identity to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license. He will go on trial July 15, and could face 10 years in state prison if convicted. Joe rejected a plea deal in April that would have gotten him four years in state prison, and the prosecution has maintained that that is its final offer.
“In order to get a NJ license you need to produce original docs. In the case of Joe, he is accused of using his brothers original birth and marriage certificates (a ’4-point’ and ’3-point’ doc) to prove identity. A photo is not needed when using those documents. If he used those docs, he would have then had his brother’s information, including DOB and SSN in the MVC database associated with *his* picture, which would have been taken during his visit to the agency. When police ‘run’ your license they scan the barcode on the back in to their computer and pull up the current MVC data to compare with the physical license. Pete’s MVC data now had Joe’s picture associated with it, which was cause for immediate concern.” – Saddle_River_NJ, May 28, 2013, Fame-Whorgas
“Something else must be going on because the brothers are so close in appearance that the photo alone would not have raised a flag. I’m guessing there is some kind of behind the scenes auditing going on at NJMVC to verify information in their databases. Jersey has a colorful history of fraudulent licenses and it would make sense that something in the system set off an alert when someone tries to get a license ‘from scratch’ with ID when the system already shows an existing issue…” – Saddle_River_NJ, May 28, 2013, Fame-Whorgas
I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the RHONJ cast members (or their associates) tipped off law enforcement that Joe Giudice was driving without a license, and when he was pulled over, the fraudulent license was discovered. If I remember correctly, Jacqueline said at the reunion 4 special that Joe had asked Chris about getting a fake ID. If this is true, then I would say it is highly likely that one of the cast members (at the reunion, Jacqueline was the one who said, “I hope Joe goes to jail”) tipped off law enforcement and this is the reason Joe was caught with the fraudulent driver’s license.
‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ hubby Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Giudice will go on trial July 15 on charges he posed as his brother to get a driver’s license, an alleged offense that could cost him 10 years in state prison if convicted.
State Superior Court Judge Greta Gooden Brown in Paterson scheduled the trial date Monday during a status conference on the case. Both Clifton defense attorney Miles Feinstein and Passaic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jay McCann said in court that a mid-July start would give them reasonable time to prepare.
Giudice rejected a plea deal in April that would have gotten him four years in state prison. The prosecution has maintained that that is its final offer.
“We are happy that a trial date has been set and we look forward to Joe being exonerated,” Feinstein said following the brief hearing Monday, in which Giudice attended with his mother (both declined comment).
“We project it will be a rather lengthy trial, considering the fact that we have to empanel a jury in July, which is difficult enough, no less with Joe’s celebrity status,” Feisntein said, referring to potential jurors’ busy vacation schedules during the summer and the challenge of finding a fair and unbiased panel, given the popularity of the Bravo TV show.
Feinstein said he expected jury selection to take weeks, and the trial itself to last about two and a half weeks.
“The plea deal offered by the state is totally unacceptable and is contrary to other plea offers in other similar cases,” he added.
Feinstein accused the state of being harder on Giudice because of his “celebrity status.”
“Joe should be treated, like anyone else,” Feinstein said.
The state has denied the allegation.
Giudice, 43, of Montville, is accused of using his brother Pietro’s identity in an attempt to obtain a driver’s license at the Motor Vehicle Commission office in Paterson in June 2010. In New Jersey, obtaining a false driver’s license is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Authorities allege that Joe Giudice used a marriage and birth certificates belonging to his 39-year-old brother to obtain the license. Joe Giudice’s license was suspended at the time for driving while intoxicated after he flipped his pickup in Montville in January 2010.
The brothers came under suspicion by investigators after Pietro Giudice was pulled over by Lincoln Park police. When the officer ran Pietro Giudice’s information through a dashboard computer, the search produced Joe Giudice’s photograph, authorities said.
Feinstein has argued that because Joe Giudice has no prior criminal convictions, he should be eligible for probation.
The defendant is married to Teresa Giudice, one of the cast members of the Bravo TV show, which takes place in various North Jersey locations. Despite all the glam, the couple has had their problems. In September 2010, Joe Giudice served a 10-day jail sentence for driving without a license in Morris County. In October 2009, the Giudices filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
UPDATE 4/1/ 2013: On April 1, 2013, Joe rrejected a plea deal on identity theft charges which would have put him in a NJ state prison for four years. Instead, he opted to go to trial beginning May 28, 2013. Miles Feinstein, Joe’s attorney, told In Touch:
The state offered him NJ State Prison, and we rejected that offer. Instead, we set a trial scheduling hearing for May 28, since we’re rejecting the new plea offer. Joe is being treated differently. He shouldn’t have to do any jail time for this. The best outcome for this will be we win the case and he doesn’t do any time at all.
If convicted, Joe could face up to ten years in prison. Caroline Manzo predicted Teresa will write a book about life without Joe, and rumors are Bravo will give Teresa a spinoff if Joe goes to prison.
At the time of his 2011 arrest, NorthJersey.com reported: “Giudice’s legitimate license, which was suspended at the time, is still suspended… Giudice is charged with wrongfully using identifying information of another person, a second-degree crime. If convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison… Giudice is also charged with forgery, a fourth-degree crime that carries an 18-month maximum prison sentence.”
Joe has since rejected plea deals to serve five years in jail, and he now faces a 10-year sentence. He plans to reject future plea deals that stipulate serving time in jail and is choosing to take his chances and go to trial. As we previously reported, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jay McCann said, in May 2012, that any sentence Joe receives will definitely include some jail time.
Source: Starcasm, March 3, 2013
“A source close to the case tells Celebuzz there is new evidence that could be damaging to the reality star. “Joe is caught on surveillance camera walking into the motor vehicle’s office with papers in his hand on the same day the driver’s license was issued in his brother’s name,” said the source. Cops think he’ll get at least two years,” added the source. Joe’s attorney Miles Feinstein confirmed to CB! his office was presented with new discovery from the Department of Motor Vehicles. He hasn’t had a chance to view it yet, but downplays the potential evidence. “It’s my understanding there may be some grainy photos of individuals at the Department of Motor Vehicles. It may be Joe and other individuals and it may not,” he told CB! – Celebuzz
According to courtroom video (click here to watch the video), the prosecutor received additional discovery, “from a different source”, which “was extensive — it was a whole notebook full of information”; and he notified Joe’s attorney, Mr. Feinstein, of its existence, turning it over, as required; however, Mr. Feinstein had not yet had a chance to review it.
Joe Giudice’s license was suspended in 2010 for a DUI conviction (he was charged in January 2010). His license was suspended for seven months, but he got caught driving with a suspended license and spent 10 days in jail in September 2010. Then, in June 2010, he allegedly got a fake license using his brother’s ID, which authorities arrested him for in March 2011 (his trial is scheduled for October 28, 2013); he was indicted in December 2011. According to ABC News on November 13, 2013, state records show Joe’s license has been suspended 47 times since he first became a New Jersey driver in 1987 (in November 2013, Joe was cited by police in his hometown of Montville, N.J., for careless driving in a school zone).
The following is a timeline from WetPaint:
January 14, 2010: After crashing into a pole at nearly 2 a.m., Joe was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, careless driving and failure to maintain a traffic lane in Montville Township, NJ. He was taken to the hospital. After his release from the medical facility, he was then turned over to the Clifton Police Department, and it was discovered that there were outstanding warrants for his arrest for city ordinance violations.
September 2010: Joe was sentenced to ten days in jail for driving with a suspended license.
February 23, 2011: Joe and Caroline Manzo’s sons, Albie and Christopher, along with others, were detained in the Dominican Republic following a bar brawl. No charges were ultimately filed, but it did delay Joe, Teresa, and the Manzo boys’ return to New Jersey.
March 25, 2011: Joe was arrested for fraudulently obtaining a state driver’s license and now faces charges including wrongful identity use and impersonation. He refused to take a plea deal and could face up to ten years in prison if convicted off the charges. A new hearing is set for October 2013.
July 29, 2013: Joe and Teresa were indicted on 39 counts of fraud. The couple is accused of exaggerating their income in order to receive larger loans, which is something that was allegedly done even before RHoNJ debuted in 2009. They also are accused of failing to disclose all of their income when initially filing for bankruptcy later that year. The indictment includes charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications, and bankruptcy fraud. If Teresa and Joe are found guilty of all charges, they could each face more than 50 years in prison. They were each released on $500k bond. Their federal trial for money fraud has been postponed until February 24, 2014.