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The once high and mighty Real Housewife of New Jersey, Teresa Giudice, is now languishing away in jail while the government plunders her assets.
Two years ago, Teresa and her husband Joe were indicted for fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, making false statements on loan applications, and bankruptcy fraud. Both plead guilty, and Teresa was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Joe was sentenced to 41 months in prison. The couple was also ordered to pay $415,588 to the government.
If she's sitting in jail, how can she afford to pay the judgment?
The Deal with the Government
According to court documents signed by a U.S. District Judge last week, Teresa will have to surrender her 2005 Maserati Quattroporte and relinquish 25 percent of her salary from the show Real Housewives of New Jersey. Also, the government will get half of all rental income collected from Joe and Teresa's Lincoln Park, New Jersey home and some furnishings from their home in Montville.
Paying a Judgment
While many of us do not have six figure salaries to be garnished and Maseratis to give up, Teresa's arrangement with the government is not all that strange.
When you owe a judgment--be it against a creditor, the government, your ex-wife, or a crime victim -- your wage may be garnished to pay that judgment. A wage garnishment order requires your employer to withhold a portion of your earnings to pay a debt of judgment.
Under federal law, Title II of the Consumer Credit Protection Act limits the maximum amount garnished to 25 percent of your disposable income or disposable income exceeding thirty times the federal minimum hourly wage, whichever is less. However, if you owe child support and alimony, up to 60 percent of your wage can be garnished.
If your income is not enough to cover the judgment against you, a creditor can also put a judgment lien on your property, such as a home or a car. The lien allows the creditor to sell your property and use the proceeds to recover the judgment against you.
As for Teresa, reports claim that she may be writing a book about her experiences in prison and is hoping to get an advance. Wonder if the government will take a portion of those earnings too.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.