Reality Stars Todd and Julie Chrisley Convicted of $30 Million Bank Fraud, Tax Evasion – National

Reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley were sentenced Monday for years of conspiring with their accountant to defraud multiple Atlanta-area banks and hide their wealth from the IRS, all while flaunting their lavish lifestyles in front of television cameras.

Todd, 54, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and his wife Julie, 49, will serve seven years behind bars after both were found guilty of bank fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the IRS ). Julie was additionally convicted of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

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The Chrisleys will each serve three years of unsupervised probation following their prison sentences and have been ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined.

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Prosecutors say the couple, known for their reality show Chrisley knows best, submitted false documents to a community bank to secure more than $30 million in fraudulent loans. The couple then spent the money on luxury cars, designer clothing, real estate and vacations, then opened new fraudulent loans to pay back the old ones, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said in a June news release.

FIle – teaser from ‘Chrisley Knows Best.’ (L-R) Faye Chrisley, Chase Chrisley, Todd Chrisley, Savannah Chrisley, Chloe Chrisley, Julie Chrisley, Grayson Chrisley.

Tommy Garcia/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

After their money dried up, Todd filed for bankruptcy and walked away from more than $20 million in debt. Around this time, the Chrisleys started their reality show, where they “blow up their wealth and lifestyle to the American public,” prosecutors wrote, and then hid the millions they made from the show from the IRS.

The couple’s accountant, Peter Tarantino, 60, was jailed for three years for his part in the scheme and was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and willfully filing false tax returns. After the prison sentence, Tarantino will serve three years of supervised release.

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Rather than remain silent while evading taxes, the Chrisleys went in the opposite direction, prosecutors said.

“In 2013, while Todd was in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings, the Chrisleys filmed a promotional video for their new reality show about their extravagant lifestyle. In the video, Todd bragged that he was doing[s] million dollars a year,” and in another photo, standing in his walk-in closet in his sprawling home, he bragged that “a year we probably spend over $300,000, sometimes more, just on clothing,” prosecutors said, according to CBS.

chrisley knows best which ran for nine seasons and followed ‘real estate tycoon’ Todd and his family, has been canceled following a court hearing, as well as a spin-off show. Growing up Chrisleyaccording to Deadline. Chrisley knows best was originally renewed for a tenth season before the pair were convicted, and USA Network will air several episodes that were filmed before the trial.

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Prosecutors say the Chrisleys funneled their earnings from the reality show into a loan company held solely in Julie’s name to avoid paying half a million dollars in delinquent taxes Todd owed. When the IRS requested information about Julie’s accounts, the couple tried to further hide their income by transferring ownership of their corporate bank account to Todd’s mother.

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“The Chrisleys have built an empire based on the lie that their wealth came from dedication and hard work,” prosecutors wrote in court filings. “The unanimous verdict of the jury turns on the story: Todd and Julie Chrisley are professional fraudsters who have survived by jumping from one fraud scheme to another, lying to banks, stiffing vendors and evading taxes at every corner.”

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The Chrisleys also submitted a false document to a grand jury investigating their crimes and then convinced friends and family members to lie under oath during the trial, prosecutors alleged. Neither has shown any remorse and instead blamed others for their criminal conduct, prosecutors wrote.

“The Chrisleys are unique given the variety and breadth of their fraudulent conduct and the extent to which they engaged in fraudulent and obstructive behavior over a long period of time,” the prosecutor said.

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Todd’s lawyers had argued in court that he would not face more than nine years in prison. Meanwhile, Julie’s lawyers said the appropriate sentence for her would be probation with special conditions and no jail time.

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Todd’s lawyers said in filings that the government never presented any evidence that he intended to defraud the banks and that the amount of losses calculated was incorrect. They also noted that the offenses were committed a long time ago and said he did not have a serious criminal record and had medical conditions that “would make a prison term disproportionately harsh”.

Julie’s lawyers argued that she played a minimal role in the conspiracy and was not involved when the loans discussed in the criminal record were obtained. She has no prior convictions, is an asset to her community and has “extraordinary family responsibilities,” her attorneys wrote in asking for probation, restitution and community service.

Screenshot from “Chrisley Knows Best”. (l-r) Grayson Chrisley, Julie Chrisley, Todd Chrisley.

USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The Chrisleys have three children together and full custody of Toddson’s 10-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. One of the couple’s children, Grayson Chrisley, 16, was hospitalized earlier this month after rear-ending a stopped vehicle on I-65N, Nashville police said.

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Grayson “couldn’t remember anything from the accident, possibly due to head trauma,” according to the department.

— with files from the Associated Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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