Why Joe Giudice Pleaded Guilty to Fraud

Joe Giudice will be headed to prison after pleading guilty on Tuesday to mail and wire fraud conspiracy and bankruptcy fraud.

And he did it to try to save his wife Teresa from harsher legal punishment and protect his four daughters from losing both their parents to a life behind bars, his attorney told Celebuzz.

“We can’t look at what is, we what it could have been,” Joe’s attorney Miles Feinstein told CB! of the plea deal accepted by both Joe (real name Giuseppe) and Teresa stemming from what the U.S. Attorneys Office said was years of hiding income and lying to obtain loans.

“And it could have been devastating. Not that it is an easy thing to take a plea and face jail time. Joe loves his wife and loves his kids and is a good father.”

Under the indictment the Real Housewives of New Jersey stars faced 41 counts of fraud and hundreds of years in federal prison. After today, the 43-year-old father of four is looking at a minimum of two years and a maximum of four.

“You always want to think someone can get probation, but it’s not going to happen in this situation,” Feinstein said. “They [prosecutors] don’t consider him [Joe] having a minimum role. He is going to prison.”

The troubled TV stars originally asked the New Jersey court for separate trials, which when it was apparent that wasn’t going to happen, it was “all or nothing,” said Joe’s attorney.

“Joe decided as a good father and husband that he wanted Teresa to get the possibility that she could get probation,” Feinstein said. “This gives her that chance.”

The 41-year-old cookbook author is still facing 21-27 months in prison, although there is an option of house arrest or probation, added Feinstein: “The government looked at Joe as the wrongdoer,” he said.

But Teresa is also prepared to pay the price.

“Today, I took responsibility for a series of mistakes I made several years ago,” she said in a statement obtained by Celebuzz. “I have said throughout that I respect the legal process and thus I intend to address the Court directly at sentencing. I will describe the choices I made, continue to take responsibility for my decisions, and express my remorse to Judge Salas and the public.

“I am heartbroken that this is affecting my family — especially my four young daughters, who mean more to me than anything in the world,” she continued.

Despite sentencing still months away on July 8, the reality husband has more legal hurdles to jump, including the pending state case and possibility of deportation because he is an Italian citizen.