Todd and Julie Chrisley are facing more than 30 years in prison for defrauding banks and the United States Government. U.S. Attorney BJ Pak announced the indictment in a press conference earlier today.
According to the indictment, Todd and Julie Chrisley committed bank and wire fraud to obtain fraudulent loans to fund their lavish lifestyle. The U.S. Attorney alleges the Chrisley’s forged documents to earn millions of dollars in loans. Additionally, the couple failed to file federal tax returns for the income they received from their series “Chrisley Knows Best.”
In a press conference, Pak stated that the Chrisleys falsified bank documents to obtain millions of dollars in loans from multiple lenders. According to the indictment, the documents contained inflated account balances.
Additionally, the indictment accuses Todd Chrisley of directing one of his employees to falsify documents to help him obtain the loans. When Chrisley leased property in California, he allegedly lied to the landlord about his income and assets. Pak says the federal government has mounting evidence that shows how Chrisley altered bank accounts.
Todd Chrisley’s tax problem started in 2009 when he filed as “Married Filing Single.” On the tax return, Chrisley owed the IRS $701,249. However, he never paid the taxes to the Federal Government. Instead, the indictment alleges that he hid money in shell companies.
To prevent the IRS from garnishing his businesses and property, Todd Chrisley listed Julie Chrisley as the owner of all their properties and businesses.
When the couple joined “Chrisley Knows Best,” the couple began earning millions of dollars from the production and media deals. The indictment alleges that the Chrisleys funneled their income through a company called 7C Productions.
Todd Chrisley withdrew money from the production company and never claimed the income on his taxes. When his accountant Peter Tarantino filed Federal Company taxes, the documents showed the company lost money.
However, the Chrisleys are alleged to have continually wired money out of the 7C Productions bank account to fund their lavish lifestyles. The government alleges that after 2012, the couple never filed a Federal tax return despite earning millions of dollars through their reality TV show. On the show, Todd Chrisley bragged about spending $300,000 a year on clothing and flaunted his massive mansion.
Documents and email communications between the Chrisleys and bank representatives support the allegation that they defrauded the banks. For example, the government alleges that they sent a Merrill Lynch Bank statement that stated they had $4,000,000 in the account. However, the couple didn’t have any accounts with Merrill Lynch at the time. They later opened an account and deposited approximately $17,000.
Emails obtained by the federal government showed Todd Chrisley asking his accountant to fabricate bank statements. He requested his CPA increase values of accounts that either didn’t exist or had negative balances. The couple used the documents to obtain fraudulent loans and mortgages to fund their lifestyle or pay off other debts.
When his accountant had difficulty creating the documents, Chrisley wrote, “Giving me an excuse as to why you cannot figure this out does not move it off your plate, this is not what we discussed, passing it back and forth is not getting the results requested if you do not know how to do this then find a crooked accountant to do it.”
Additionally, the indictment alleges that the couple used fabricated tax returns during this time to secure loans for rental leases, mortgages, and to lease a luxury Bentley convertible. Julie Chrisley is accused of sending the auto dealership multiple years of tax returns that were never filed as proof of their income.
According to the indictment, the couple physically cut out numbers on the bank accounts and glued or taped new numbers on top to show higher balances. In 2014, Julie Chrisley altered her credit report to obtain a lease on a home in California.
The indictment indicates that she obtained her credit report and stored the document on a Google Drive. After printing out the document, she changed her median score from 558 to 770 by cutting out numbers and gluing new ones on top.Based upon the credit report altered by Julie, the couple secured the lease on the property. However, the couple refused to pay rent in October 2014, which caused the property owner to threaten eviction.
During the time they defrauded banks, the IRS was attempting to collect funds on Todd Chrisley’s 2009 tax return. However, his CPA Peter Tarantino lied to the IRS agents about the Chrisley’s income and whereabouts.
In 2017, a media investigation uncovered that the Chrisley’s owed the state of Georgia over $700,000 to the Department of Revenue. During the investigation, his son Kyle said that his father hid money to avoid taxes.
Learn more about the indictment here:
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On social media and the reality series, Todd Chrisley presents himself as a wealthy Christian man. His Instagram and Twitter accounts are littered with Bible verses and religious quotes to encourage his fans. He often discusses his Christian beliefs and promotes the idea that despite his wealth, he’s incredibly humble.
In multiple images posted by Chrisley, he reminds fans to stay humble and to focus on others. One quote reminds fans not to focus on material possessions but rather to remain humble.
Todd Chrisley denied the charges against him by the Federal Government. On Instagram, Chrisley shared with fans that a disgruntled employee set him up. According to Chrisley, the employee falsified the documents behind his back. He and his wife deny any wrongdoing.
U.S. Attorney Pak says that Chrisley’s Instagram statement is not accurate. According to Pak, the investigation uncovered numerous documents and communications where Chrisley directed his employees to commit fraud.
In his final statement to the press, Pak said that wealth and fame do not exempt someone from being brought to justice. Additionally, Pak said that the Chrisleys face more than 30 years behind bars for the charges. He said the government would request prison time for all parties involved in the fraud.
Todd and Julie Chrisley are expected to turn themselves on August 14. Pak said the couple’s first court appearance would occur later this week.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles related to trending topics and crime on her column.
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