Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley face up to 30 years each in prison after being convicted of bank fraud and tax evasion.
Following a three-week trial in Atlanta, a federal jury began deliberating Friday and, on Tuesday, found the Chrisley Knows Best stars guilty on all counts. The celebrity couple had been accused of inflating their net worth while seeking loans from smaller banks, which did less vetting than their larger counterparts, in order to secure more than $30 million in fraudulent loans. When Todd filed for bankruptcy in 2012, $20 million in loan debt was erased, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Chrisleys also were accused of dodging taxes as early as 2009, with him having skipped out on a $500,000 tax bill that year. The prosecutor had argued that, once their USA show began in 2016, they attempted to hide the millions that they made with it from the government. Their accountant, Peter Tarantino, was simultaneously convicted of filing false corporate tax returns for them.
“As today’s outcome shows,” Keri Farley, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a news release, “when you lie, cheat and steal, justice is blind as to your fame, your fortune, and your position. In the end, when driven by greed, the verdict of guilty on all counts for these three defendants proves once again that financial crimes do not pay.”
Meanwhile, the couple’s attorney, Bruce H. Morris, argued that his clients had been unaware that an employee overseeing Chrisley Asset Management had been defrauding the government until 2012, when they fired him. The attorney alleged that that employee had since provided further information on the Chrisleys to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in order to get federal immunity.
Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to the Chrisleys for comment. They have always denied the charges against them.
The Associated Press reported that Morris planned to appeal, and that the judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross, allowed the Chrisleys to remain out on bond. However, their location is now being monitored to ensure they remain at home except for valid reasons, such as court appearances, work or medical appointments. And they have to let their probation officers know about expenditures over $1,000.
The couple — whose show also features their blended family — previously made their home in Georgia’s capital, but they relocated to Nashville six years ago. In addition to their flagship show, the Chrisleys and their offspring have starred in a string of current and former projects, including TV’s According to Chrisley and Growing Up Chrisley, web series What’s Cooking With Julie Chrisley, as well as Todd and Julie’s podcast, Chrisley Confessions. Variety reported just last month that E! had given the greenlight to Love Limo, a speed-dating show that he would host and produce.
Sentencing for the Chrisleys and Tarantino has been set for Oct. 6.