The federal bank and tax fraud trial for celebrity couple Todd and Julie Chrisley begins this week in Atlanta.
Federal prosecutors say the couple and their accountant, who was indicted in 2019, submitted bogus tax documents and made up their wealth to financial institutions when applying for loans.
The alleged fraud scheme ran from 2007 to 2012, according to federal documents.
For example, court documents reveal that an anonymous co-conspirator sent an email that copied Mr. Chrisley. An attachment on the email had fake financial information saying Todd Chrisley had $4 million in an account at Merrill Lynch.
In response to the email. Todd Chrisley wrote the person was a ‘genius’ and to ‘just make it show at least $4 million.’
In reality, the couple never had a Merrill Lynch bank account during that period, although they opened one in 2008. It never had more than $17,000 on deposit.
The federal indictment states that because of these false representations, several banks gave the Chrisleys several million dollars in loans, and the couple used much of the money for personal expenses.
Fake Credit Reports And Bank Statements Submitted, Too
Also, Julie Chrisley allegedly submitted a bogus credit report and bank statements when she tried to rent a home in California. They stopped paying rent there three months after they moved in.
Money the couple received from their show was sent to a company called 7C’s Productions. However, they didn’t declare it as income on their tax returns. The couple didn’t file or pay their taxes on time for several years.
Their accountant also helped them conceal income and lie on tax returns. They told the IRS that Todd lacked the income to pay a tax bill from 2009 even though they had money flowing in from the production business that they used to buy personal items. He also filed fake corporate tax returns to make it look as if the firm wasn’t making a profit.
The Chrisleys and their account are facing one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, five counts of bank fraud, one count of tax fraud, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Julie Chrisley is also charged with wire fraud.
Accountant Peter Tarantino has been charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts of willfully filing false tax returns.
Chrisleys Deny The Charges
Jury selection for the federal fraud trial is ongoing this week in the courthouse in Atlanta, and opening statements are expected today.
In the summer of 2019, Todd Chrisley posted on Instagram that he denied the charges. He claimed that an ex-employee who was let go in 2012 after he was caught stealing got back at them by sneaking fake documents to the US attorney’s office.
Federal prosecutors allege the couple told the former worker to fake the documents.
The couple was indicted in 2019. The US attorney’s office said the couple made millions on reality TV but hid their income on tax returns. State prosecutors allege the Chrisleys used a film production firm to conceal income.
The 12-count federal indictment stated the couple lied about their income on tax returns and submitted faked documents.
One federal attorney noted that just because they are rich and on TV doesn’t mean the law won’t come after them when they commit a federal crime.
The family recently moved to Tennessee but the federal charges took place in Atlanta.
State Charges Cleared in 2019
The Chrisleys have had other legal trouble recently. In 2019, a Georgia state judge cleared the couple of state tax charges. The matter was resolved when the Chrisleys agreed to settle their state tax bill for $150,000. It turned out they needed to pay $78,000 in Georgia state taxes from 2008 to 2016. It was only a small part of the $2 million they allegedly owed.
After the settlement, the celebrity pair sued Director Josh Waites of the Georgia Department of Revenue. They alleged the tax auditor used Todd’s daughter Lindsie to get information on their finances.
This claim of alleged misconduct led to an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General into the Department of Revenue. The investigation concluded the Chirsleys were targeted, and the DOR also misused funds that were recovered in asset forfeiture.
The report also showed that Waites was seen in pictures posing on the Chrisley’s seized furniture and later boasted about it on social media. Waites’ office also filed an illegal request with the federal Treasury Department to get into the couple’s bank accounts.
The Office of the Inspector General concluded that Director Waites and other DOR leadership compromised the department’s ability to be impartial in the enforcement of tax laws. Waites resigned after it was discovered that he lied about getting a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. The investigation showed that Waites doesn’t have any college degree at all.
Meanwhile, the federal trial is just getting underway. Todd Chrisley said this week outside the courthouse that they are lucky to have the attorneys they have and their family will stay close during this difficult time.
The bubbly couple is best known for the reality series Chrisley Knows Best and Growing Up Chrisley. Even with the brewing legal issues, USA Network and E! Have renewed these shows recently. Also, E says it is moving ahead with a dating series that Todd Chrisley hosts.