After being found guilty earlier this year of offenses including bank fraud and tax evasion, reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley were sentenced to hefty jail terms on Monday. According to the U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta, Todd Chrisley was sentenced to 12 years in prison and Julie Chrisley was sentenced to seven years in prison by the U.S.
District Judge Eleanor Ross in Atlanta. Ross further ordered each to pay restitution in an amount to be decided at a later date and serve three years of supervised release following their conviction.
The Chrisley family became well-known because of their reality show, “Chrisley Knows Best,” which chronicles their lively, close-knit household. According to federal prosecutors, the pair perpetrated a massive bank fraud scheme, flaunted their money in front of tax authorities, and then hid it all.
The Chrisleys “have constructed an empire predicated on the falsehood that their wealth originated from dedication and hard work,” the prosecution claimed in a pre-sentencing court document.
The finding of the jury, which was unanimous, “clears the record: Todd and Julie Chrisley are professional swindlers who have made a fortune by lying to banks, stiffing vendors, and dodging taxes at every turn.”
Todd Chrisley’s (age 54) defense team has requested a sentence of no more than nine years in jail. Attorneys for 49-year-old Julie Chrisley argued that she should receive a sentence of probation with conditions rather than jail time.
On June 4th, a federal jury found the Chrisleys guilty on all counts of bank fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to cheat the Internal Revenue Service. Wire fraud and obstruction of justice convictions for Julie Chrisley.
Peter Tarantino, the couple’s sixty-year-old accountant, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and wilfully filing fraudulent tax returns. On Monday, he was given a three-year prison term, followed by the same amount of time under supervision after his release.
The Chrisleys, according to the prosecution, obtained fraudulent loans totaling more than $30 million by submitting forged paperwork to financial institutions. When Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy, they were released from their need to repay the loans once the scheme collapsed.
Their reality program “flaunted their wealth and lifestyle to the American public” while they were bankrupt, according to prosecutors, and they hid the millions they generated from it from the IRS.
Prosecutors said that the Chrisleys had persuaded friends and family members to lie under oath during their trial and that they had also submitted a phony document to a grand jury investigating their crimes.
Prosecutors said both defendants lacked remorse and instead placed the responsibility for their crimes on others. Prosecutors noted that the Chrisleys stood out because of the “vast and varied scope” of their fraudulent conduct and the length of time they engaged in fraud and obstructive behavior.
In a brief, attorneys for defendant Todd Chrisley said that the government failed to provide evidence of his intent to cheat the banks and that the damage number computed was inaccurate.
They argued that his health problems and the fact that the crimes were committed so long ago made incarceration an unfair punishment. There was “a history of good deeds and seeking to help others,” as stated in the letters supplied by his lawyers’ clients.
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They said that Chrisley’s imprisonment will have a negative impact on his mother and the numerous individuals who work on his television shows. They asked the judge to grant him a term of incarceration that was lower than the guideline range, with supervised release and reparations as possible outcomes.
Defense attorneys for Julie Chrisley claimed their client was only peripherally involved in the conspiracy and had nothing to do with securing the loans referenced in the court filings.
Her attorneys argued that she has no prior convictions, is a valuable member of society, and has “extraordinary family obligations” in order to justify their request for probation, restitution, and community service.
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One of their children is 16 years old, and they also have full custody of Todd Chrisley’s son’s 10-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. According to the paperwork, Julie Chrisley takes care of her sick mother-in-law full-time.
Letters from people who know her well attested to her “hard work,” “unflinching selflessness,” “devotion” to family and friends, “high respect,” and “strong character,” as her attorneys put it.