James J. Leonard, Jr., the attorney for the imprisoned reality TV star, says she made a deal with the U.S. Attorney's office in December to make payments to the government
Yes, Teresa Giudice made a deal to pay back money she owes the federal government in connection with her bankruptcy fraud case – but she did so months ago, her attorney tells PEOPLE.
“Back in December, before Teresa went to prison on Jan. 5, she and I met with attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, as well as investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s Financial Litigation Unit,” her lawyer, James J. Leonard Jr., tells PEOPLE.
On Tuesday, reports surfaced that the Real Housewives of New Jersey star had made an agreement with federal prosecutors for her to pay restitution that was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas at her sentencing.
“While the government may have recently filed these orders, it was signed and agreed upon in late December and the only thing that has happened since then is that she has made payments in accordance with that agreement,” Leonard says.
“We reached agreements that same day in December on how the restitution would be paid back.”
Contrary to recent reports, “nothing has been seized from her and nothing will be seized from her,” he adds.
Perhaps she’ll pay the bill with future Bravo TV appearances?
“Bravo is in talks with Joe Giudice to film him taking care of their four daughters while she serves her prison sentence,” a source tells PEOPLE. “Bravo has also made overtures about Teresa returning to Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
Since Jan. 5, Giudice has been serving the 15-month sentence she received in October at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
When she finishes her sentence in February, her husband, Joe Giudice will serve a 41-month sentence for the fraud counts and a concurrent 12-month term for failing to file a federal tax return in 2004. (Federal prisoners serve 85 percent of their sentences, Leonard says.)
The restitution agreement, which federal prosecutors filed in court on June 5, show that Giudice agreed to let Bravo withhold “25 percent of any monies held on behalf of, or payable to Teresa Giudice, and pay the sum to the [government],” according to court records.
The records showed that Giudice must give the federal government 50 percent of a New Jersey rental property she owns with husband. She must also hand over possession of a 2005 Maserati.
Originally, she owed $414,588 in restitution. Now, Leonard says, the outstanding restitution “is less than $200,000.”
“She has been cooperative, as has Joe, in making payments to the government pursuant to their obligations,” he says. “I have no doubt that this debt will be paid in full.”