Reality TV Stars Todd and Julie Chrisley Have Been Found Guilty of Fraud and Tax Evasion and Given Sentences in Prison
In June, the cast members of the reality television show “Chrisley Knows Best” were found guilty of conspiring to defraud banks out of more than $30 million and of evading taxes for a number of years.
After being convicted of defrauding banks to obtain more than $30 million in personal loans and evading taxes to fund a lavish lifestyle, Todd and Julie Chrisley, the stars of the reality TV show “Chrisley Knows Best,” were sentenced to federal prison on Monday. The Chrisleys were convicted of defrauding banks to obtain the loans.
According to the information provided by the Justice Department, Mr. Chrisley, who is 54 years old, was given a sentence of 12 years in prison by Judge Eleanor Ross of the United States District Court in Atlanta, and Ms. Chrisley, who is 49 years old, was given a sentence of seven years in prison. According to the Justice Department, not only will they be required to serve three years of probation after their release from prison, but they will also be required to pay restitution in an amount that will be determined at a later date.
The couple, who portrayed themselves on television as wealthy real estate magnates living lavish lifestyles, was found guilty in June of conspiring to defraud banks and evading taxes for a number of years. The crimes took place over the course of several years.
Following a trial that lasted for three weeks, the jury found the couple guilty on eight counts of financial fraud and two counts of tax evasion. In addition, Ms. Chrisley was found guilty on additional counts of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
An IRS criminal investigation agent named James Dorsey said in a statement that the Chrisleys had committed the crimes “in an effort to minimize their tax liability, but project an image of wealth.” Dorsey’s comments were made in a statement that was released on Monday.
According to Mr. Dorsey, “This sentencing serves notice that there are severe consequences for defrauding the American tax system, regardless of a person’s celebrity status.”
On Monday night, Ms. Chrisley’s attorney, Stephen Friedberg, told reporters that her client and her co-defendant would be allowed to report to prison after the first of the year.
In the documents that were submitted on Friday, Mr. Friedberg and another attorney for Ms. Chrisley asked that she be given a lesser sentence with a “combination of probation, restitution, and community service” in order for her to be able to care for her children and her ailing mother. Mr. Friedberg requested that the judge also take into consideration the possibility of staggered sentencing for the couples until their youngest daughter reached the age of 18 or graduated high school.
According to the sentencing guidelines, Mr. Chrisley could spend more than 21 years in prison, while Ms. Chrisley could spend more than 12 years behind bars, as stated by the prosecutors in a memo regarding the sentencing.
According to the statements made by the prosecutors, “The Chrisleys have built an empire based on the lie that their wealth came from dedication and hard work.” “The jury’s unanimous verdict puts the record straight: Todd and Julie Chrisley are professional con artists who have made a living by moving quickly from one fraud scheme to another, lying to banks, stiffing vendors, and evading taxes at every turn,”
The Chrisleys are accused of defrauding banks in the Atlanta area to the tune of more than $36 million in personal loans through the use of fictitious bank statements, audit reports, and personal financial statements, as stated by the Justice Department. This scheme was carried out with the assistance of a former business partner. The couple splurged with that money, purchasing luxury automobiles, real estate, and other extravagant items. According to the Justice Department, Mr. Chrisley filed for bankruptcy after they had exhausted all of their financial resources.
Prosecutors assert that after the couple earned millions of dollars from their reality television show, they then conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service with the assistance of their accountant, Peter Tarantino, who is 60 years old. According to the Justice Department, Mr. and Mrs. Chrisley opened corporate bank accounts in Ms. Chrisley’s name so that they could avoid paying Mr. Chrisley’s back taxes, which amounted to approximately $500,000 at the time. But when the IRS asked for information about the accounts that were in Ms. Chrisley’s name, the couple changed ownership of their corporate bank account to another family member in order to conceal their income from the IRS, according to the Justice Department. This was done to avoid paying taxes on the income they earned.
(Later, after learning about the grand jury investigation, Ms. Chrisley filed a false document to a grand jury subpoena to make it look as if the couple had not lied to the bank when they moved the ownership of the corporate account to a relative, according to the allegations made by the Justice Department.)
According to the Justice Department, the couple did not file any tax returns or pay any taxes in the years 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016. Additionally, Mr. Tarantino participated in the scheme by filing two corporate tax returns for the loan-out company in which he falsely claimed that the company did not earn money or make distributions in the years 2015 and 2016.
Mr. Tarantino was convicted in June of filing false corporate tax returns for the Chrisleys’ company, and on Monday, Judge Ross handed him a sentence that included three years in prison and three years of probation. This sentence was handed down in conjunction with the sentencing of the Chrisleys.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Ryan K. Buchanan issued a statement in which he said that the length of the sentences handed down to the Chrisleys reflected “the magnitude of their criminal scheme.” He added that the sentences “should serve as a warning to others who are tempted to exploit our nation’s community banking system for unlawful personal gain.”