As Teresa Giudice faces more than fifty years in prison, she could be getting convict tips from someone in her inner circle: RadarOnline.com can reveal that Giudice's publicist and BFF, Wendy Feldman, served time in federal prison for her own $4.1 million fraud scheme!
Feldman, a former registered trader, was barred from the securities industry and sentenced to 27 months in federal prison back in 2006, after the SEC uncovered an extensive Ponzi-like scheme she'd been running for years.
According to court documents obtained by Radar, from 1998 to late 2001, Feldman, then known as Wendy Feldman Purner "breached the trust of her brokerage customers and investment advisory clients and engaged in fraud when she misappropriated $4,145,000 from their accounts."
"While associated with a registered broker-dealer and investment adviser, and later at her own investment advisory firm," the initial complaint alleged, "Purner received money from her customers and clients to invest and manage."
But according to the 2006 complaint, she "told her customers she would invest their money in various investment vehicles …but rather misappropriated it" for her own lavish lifestyle, "including Las Vegas vacations and gambling." Feldman also used some of the funds to pay off other suspicious customers, the complaint alleged.
She was able to keep them in the dark about her scheme, the complaint claimed, "by creating and mailing to her customers false account statements that described non-existent investments and contained inflated account balances."
Investors quickly caught on, however, to what the SEC called the "unsophisticated" scheme. When confronted, Feldman approached the US Attorney's Office to tell them what she had done.
Feldman eventually pled guilty to three counts of wire fraud in a California court, and was ordered to pay $4,145,000 in restitution, although the judge at the time noted that she likely would never be able to do so. She also served 16 months of her 27-month sentence.
In a letter to the judge, Feldman's attorneys insisted she had tried to make amends for her behavior. They also revealed some of the problems that they said "lead her to engage in criminal conduct," including an "addiction to pain medication" Oxycontin and Ativan. In 2005, the letter claims, she entered rehab, but relapsed in January 26.
For the next several months, the letter claims, she entered detox treatments, outpatient rehab, and inpatient rehab, before kicking her habit on February 14, 2006. The letter claims, "she attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings four times and week and speaks to her sponsor daily."
Now, she runs a prison consultant site, CustodialCoaching.com, to help other people "to prepare for court, investigations, incarceration, alternative sentences, and most importantly, re-entry into society."
In November, she announced she was working with the Real Housewives of New Jersey star as a "legal coach and crisis manager" as she faces her own 41-count federal indictment for bank fraud.
Do you think Feldman seems like a good confidante for Teresa? Let us know in the comments!