Todd and Julie Chrisley could be sentenced to more than 10 years in prison
Reality television stars Todd and Julie Chrisley could be sentenced to more than a decade in prison after being convicted of fraud and tax evasion earlier this year. In a sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors suggested Todd Chrisley receive 17 1/2 to nearly 22 years in prison, and Julie Chrisley be sentenced to 10 to 12 1/2 years in prison.
Prosecutors argued that the Chrisleys deserve a more severe sentence because evidence shows many of their crimes were more severe than previously believed. The couple were accused of “a long-running conspiracy to defraud community bank accounts out of tens million dollars.” “
“A message must be sent to the Chrisleys and others that tax evasion is a serious offense, and that wealthy tax cheats who use personal companies to avoid paying taxes will face a substantial prison sentence,” the prosecutors said. “Finally, Todd Chrisley and Julie Chrisley’s arrogance deserves special consideration. “
The prosecutors argued that while “most tax cheaters try to keep a low profile while avoiding detection from the IRS,” the Chrisleys did the opposite.
“In 2013, while Todd was in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, the Chrisleys filmed a promotional video for their new reality show about their extravagant lifestyle. In the video, Todd boasted that he ‘make[s] millions of dollars a year,’ and in another shot where he is standing in his walkin closet in his expansive house, he bragged that ‘in a year, we probably spend over $300,000, sometimes more, just on clothing. ‘”
The couple, who appeared on “Chrisley Knows Best” and several other reality television shows, were indicted on 12 counts, including tax evasion, conspiracy, bank fraud and wire fraud, in 2019. They were found guilty earlier in the year.
U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said in a June 2022 press release that Todd and Julie Chrisley conspired to defraud community banks in the Atlanta area to obtain more than $30 million in personal loans prior to the launch of their first television show in 2014. The Chrisleys and their ex-business partner made false documents to get the loans and spent the money on cars and real estate, as well as travel. Buchanan stated that they used new loans to repay the old ones.
Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy and was able to walk away from more than $20 million of the loans. Buchanan claims that he claimed to be bankrupt, but he and his family were making millions from their television show. The Chrisleys operated a loan-out business, which is usually used by entertainment professionals. They also earned money from their show, as well as other entertainment ventures.
When the IRS asked for information about their bank accounts, they transferred their loan-out company’s corporate account to Todd Chrisley’s mother in an effort to hide from the IRS. Buchanan stated that Todd Chrisley was operating the loan-out business behind the scenes.
The Chrisleys also failed to file tax returns or pay any taxes in the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, Buchanan said. While speaking on a radio show, Todd Chrisley claimed he paid $750,000 to $1 million in federal income taxes every year. He hadn’t paid for it in years.
The couple’s accountant, Peter Tarantino, was also found guilty of conspiring to defraud the IRS and filing two false corporate tax returns on behalf of the Chrisleys’ company. On those tax returns, he falsely claimed that their company earned no money and made no distributions in 2015 and 2016.
In this week’s sentencing memorandum, prosecutors said the couple’s “crimes cannot be understated.”
“The seriousness of their actions is further underscored by the fact that neither defendant has expressed remorse for their crimes, instead continuing to blame others for their own criminal conduct,” they said. “Given the seriousness and severity of the Chrisleys’ crime, a long period of imprisonment is warranted. “
The Chrisleys’ lawyer submitted a memorandum suggesting the sentencing range should be much lower – between 8 and 9 months. CBS News reached out to the lawyer for more information and is currently awaiting a response.
Several positive character assessments about the Chrisleys were submitted with their memorandum.
“Most people don’t get the opportunity to see and know the Todd that I do,” the family’s personal assistant/house manager and former housekeeper Jill Palilla wrote. They don’t realize the kindness he has shown to me, my family and others. They don’t get to see him lead his family in prayer at the dinner tables each night or see him shed tears of compassion on behalf of others in pain. “
“I’ve always known him to be a caring friend and devoted advocate for everyone,” wrote fellow reality star Kandi Burruss-Tucker, who stars on “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” “You can see his love for his family. But the admirable role he took on as a caregiver to his granddaughter Chloe is a reflection of his true self. “
Todd Chrisley’s lawyer argued that many people who rely on him “will be severely and negatively impacted when he is sentenced to imprisonment,” especially his elderly mother.
- Tax Fraud
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