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'Chrisley Knows Best' stars found guilty of fraud, tax evasion by federal jury

The duo has been standing trial in Atlanta on charges including bank fraud and tax evasion.

ATLANTA — Todd and Julie Chrisley of the reality television series "Chrisley Knows Best" have been found guilty of fraud and other charges by a federal jury Tuesday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The duo has been standing trial in Atlanta on charges including bank fraud and tax evasion for the last three weeks. The Chrisleys were initially indicted in August 2019, and a new indictment was filed in February 2022. 

According to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Todd and Julie Chrisley were found guilty of conspiring to defraud community banks out of more than $30 million of fraudulent loans. The DOJ added that after the Chrisleys used funds to buy luxury cars, designer clothes, real estate and travel excursions – they used the new fraudulent loans to pay back old loans. After spending the money, the DOJ said, "Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy and walked away from more than $20 million of the fraudulently obtained loans." 

The couple was also found guilty of tax evasion. 

"While the Chrisleys were earning millions and evading paying Todd Chrisley’s delinquent back taxes, they also failed to file tax returns or pay any taxes for the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 tax years," the DOJ said. "At one point, Todd Chrisley falsely claimed on a radio program that he paid $750,000 to $1 million in federal income taxes every year, even though he had not filed or paid his personal income tax returns for years."

Prosecutors alleged that the Chrisleys submitted fake documents to banks when applying for the loans. They said Julie Chrisley also submitted a false credit report and fake bank statements when trying to rent a house in California, and then the couple refused to pay rent a few months after they started using the home.

The Chrisleys also previously used a film production company to hide income from the IRS and keep it from collecting unpaid taxes by Todd Chrisley, prosecutors said. The family had moved to Tennessee by the time the indictment was filed, but the criminal charges stem from when they lived in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, prosecutors said previously.

Peter Tarantino, an accountant, hired by the Chrisleys, had also been standing trial with the Chrisleys. He was also found guilty of filing two false corporate tax returns on behalf of the Chrisleys' company, the DOJ said in a release. 

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

Additionally, Julie Chrisley was found guilty of wire fraud and obstruction of justice. After learning about the grand jury's investigation, the DOJ said she submitted a fraudulent document in response to a subpoena to make it appear the Chrisleys had not lied to the bank when they transferred ownership of the company's bank account to Todd Chrisley's mother. 

“As today’s outcome shows, when you lie, cheat and steal, justice is blind as to your fame, your fortune, and your position,” Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta said. “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.”

After they were found guilty, U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross allowed the Chrisleys to remain free on bond. But she placed them on location monitoring and home detention, meaning they can only leave the house for certain reasons, including work, medical appointments and court appearances. They also have to alert their probation officers when they spend more than $1,000, according to the order entered Tuesday.

Bruce Morris, an attorney for Todd Chrisley, said he was disappointed with the verdict and expects to appeal. The Chrisleys and Tarantino are scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, October 6 at 9 a.m. 

E! recently announced that it's moving forward with a new dating series called "Love Limo," hosted by Todd Chrisley. Additionally, reality shows "Chrisley Knows Best" and its spinoff "Growing up Chrisley," featuring Chrisley kids Chase and Savannah in Los Angeles, have been renewed on USA Network and E!. 

This is a developing story. Check back often for new information.

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