Reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley have been found guilty of tax evasion, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday. Their accountant was also found guilty of a number of tax crimes.
Before the couple’s show, “Chrisley Knows Best,” began in 2014, they conspired to defraud community banks in the Atlanta area to obtain more than $30 million in personal loans, according to U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan.
The Chrisleys and their former business partner submitted false documents to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent loans and then spent the money on cars, clothes, real estate and travel. They used new loans to pay back the old ones.
Todd Chrisley then filed for bankruptcy and was able to walk away from more than $20 million of the loans. While Chrisley claimed he was bankrupt, he and his family were earning millions from their TV show, according to the news release.
The Chrisleys were operating a loan-out company, which are usually used by entertainment professionals, and earned money from their show and other entertainment ventures.
When the IRS asked for information about their bank accounts, they transferred their loan-out company’s corporate account to Chrisley’s mother, in an effort to hide from the IRS, even though Todd Chrisley was still operating the loan-out company behind the scenes.
The Chrisleys failed to file tax returns or pay any taxes in the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 tax years. While speaking on a radio show, Todd Chrisley claimed he paid $750,000 to $1 million in federal income taxes every year. However, he hadn’t paid in years.
The couple’s accountant, Peter Tarantino, was found guilty of conspiring to defraud the IRS and filing two false corporate tax returns on behalf of the Chrisleys’ company. On those tax returns, he falsely claimed that their company earned no money and made no distributions in 2015 and 2016.
Julie Chrisley also manufactured financial documents and lied to real estate agents to obtain a luxury rental house in Los Angeles, California. The family did not pay rent and they were evicted. Julie Chrisley was found guilty of wire fraud.
She was also found guilty of obstruction of justice because, after learning about a grand jury investigation, she submitted a fraudulent document to make it appear that they had not lied to the bank when they transferred ownership of the loan-out company’s bank account to Chrisley’s mother.
Sentencing for the Chrisleys and Tarantino is scheduled for October 6, 2022.
“As today’s outcome shows, when you lie, cheat and steal, justice is blind as to your fame, your fortune, and your position,” said Keri Farley, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta. “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.”