‘Chrisley Knows Best’ reality TV stars found guilty of bank fraud

Chrisley should have known better.

Todd and Julie Chrisley, of ‘Chrisley Knows Best’ fame, were convicted on Tuesday of conspiring to defraud community banks out of more than $30 million in fraudulent loans, U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan’s office said at Atlanta.

Both men were also convicted of conspiracy to defraud the IRS and tax evasion. Julie Chrisley was further convicted of wire fraud and obstruction of justice, while their accountant, Peter Tarantino, was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States and willfully file false tax returns. companies on behalf of Chrisley’s company, the US Attorney’s office. said.

The facts presented during the three-week trial described how they did it.

“The jury found that Todd and Julie Chrisley engaged in multiple fraud schemes over several years and that their accountant, Peter Tarantino, filed false corporate tax returns on their behalf,” Buchanan said in a statement. statement. “This office and our partner agencies will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute white-collar criminals who flout the law.”

They committed their crimes before becoming reality TV stars. They submitted fake bank statements, audit reports and personal financial statements to the banks, persuading them to lend millions of dollars.

The couple treated themselves to luxury cars, designer clothes, real estate and travel, then paid off previous loans with another batch of fraudulently obtained loans. With $20 million still owed, Chrisley filed for bankruptcy and walked away from all the financial mess.

But the couple didn’t stop there. In 2014, even as Todd Chrisley navigated bankruptcy, his wife fabricated more forged financial documents and lied to real estate agents to rent a luxury Los Angeles abode, the Justice Department said – then refused to pay the rent.

This slapped them with an eviction lawsuit.

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Meanwhile, the eponymous name “Chrisley Knows Best” – which follows the family’s “hijinks and hilarity”, according to the show website — took off and made them millions, the Justice Department said. And that’s where the tax evasion happened, with some help from Tarantino.

The Chrisleys started and ran 7C’s Productions, a loan company to keep their income from the show and everything else they did. To escape scrutiny from the IRS for its overdue tax bill, they kept all company accounts in Julie Chrisley’s name only. Once the IRS was on to it, they tried to transfer ownership of the account to Todd Chrisley’s mother.

“Todd Chrisley, Julie Chrisley, and their CPA, Peter Tarantino, conspired to evade the Chrisleys’ assessment and payment of income taxes,” said James E. Dorsey, Special Agent in Charge, IRS- Criminal Investigation, in the press release. “The Chrisleys and Tarantinos knew the law was clear about taxable income and who is required to file and pay taxes. These beliefs should send a clear message that no matter how famous or notorious you are, everyone will be held accountable to pay their fair share of taxes.

They were indicted in 2019.

Jury deliberations began Friday afternoon and they reached a verdict Tuesday afternoon, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. They are to be sentenced on October 6 and face up to 30 years in prison. Todd Chrisley’s attorney, Bruce Morris, said The Associated Press they will probably appeal.

During this time, they are free on bail, but with strict restrictions – location surveillance and house arrest which will keep them at home unless they go to work, to the doctor or to court, WSB-TV reported. And they must notify their probation orders of any expenses over $1,000, the WSB reported.

“As today’s result shows, when you lie, cheat and steal, justice is blind to your fame, fortune and position,” FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley said in a statement. press release from the Ministry of Justice. “Ultimately, driven by greed, the verdict of guilty on all counts for these three defendants proves once again that financial crimes don’t pay.”

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