Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley of Chrisley Knows
Best were slapped with a dozen federal charges on Tuesday. Their accountant,
Peter Tarantino, has also been charged with financial crimes. According to the U.S.
Attorney’s office in Georgia, the couple was under investigation by the FBI for
fraud and other offenses, and officials want to send the message that celebrities
are not above the law. But what’s going on and how have the Chrisleys responded?
Per the press
release from the Department of Justice, the Chrisleys are charged with bank
fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy. Tarantino has been charged with
tax-related crimes. The FBI and DOJ allege that between 2007 and 2012, the
Chrisleys conspired and falsified information given to banks to obtain millions
of dollars in loans. This occurred when the family was still living in Georgia;
currently, they reside in Tennessee.
After obtaining the loan funds, they used the money for personal gain, and allegedly created fake bank records and credit reports in the pursuit of trying to lease a house in California. But that’s not all. While Todd Chrisley openly declared on a radio show in 2017 that he pays the federal government (namely, the IRS) almost $1 million dollars each year, the indictment alleges that the couple did not pay taxes for at least four years.
The DOJ statement reads:
“Instead, the Chrisleys and
Tarantino allegedly took steps to obstruct IRS collection efforts, which
included hiding income, lying to third parties about their tax returns, and –
in Tarantino’s case – lying to FBI and IRS-CI Special Agents.”
The case is still under investigation
by the FBI and the IRS’s criminal unit. U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak had this to
say about the indictment:
“Todd and Julie Chrisley are charged not only with defrauding a number of banks by fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in loans, but also with allegedly cheating taxpayers by actively evading paying federal taxes on the money they earned. Celebrities face the same justice that everyone does. These are serious federal charges and they will have their day in court.”
The Associated Press reported that the Chrisleys’ TV show has run on USA for seven seasons and includes a spinoff, a canceled talk show, and an ongoing podcast. According to the report, the Chrisleys stated in an Instagram post that the charges are no surprise but the root cause is a dispute with a former “unqualified employee.”
In the post, Todd Chrisley asserts that the employee
forged documents and did other illegal things without their knowledge, and they
have evidence to prove their innocence. The Chrisleys deny the accusations and
said they have done nothing wrong, have nothing to hide, and have nothing to be
The AP also reports that the U.S. Attorney’s office plans on
seeking prison time for the Chrisleys. If convicted, they could be facing fines
and more than five years for just the tax evasion charges alone. In spite of the
potential penalties looming above their heads, the Chrisleys don’t seem to be