(AP) ATLANTA — Reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley were found guilty of offences including bank fraud and tax evasion earlier this year and received hefty jail sentences on Monday.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta, Todd Chrisley received a 12-year sentence from U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross in Atlanta, while Julie Chrisley received a seven-year sentence. After that, each must serve three years of supervised release, and Ross also ordered that they make restitution in an amount that will be decided later.
The Chrisleys became well-known for their television program “Chrisley Knows Best,” which features their close-knit, raucous family. According to federal prosecutors, the pair ran a significant bank fraud operation before concealing their income from tax officials and flaunting their opulent lifestyle.
Prosecutors said in a pre-sentencing court document that “The Chrisleys have constructed an empire predicated on the falsehood that their money originated from commitment and hard work.” The jury’s unanimous decision clarifies the situation: Todd and Julie Chrisley are professional fraudsters who have earned a life by switching between fraud schemes, deceiving banks, taking advantage of suppliers, and dodging taxes everywhere.
Todd Chrisley’s 54-year-old attorneys had claimed in a court document that he shouldn’t serve more than nine years behind bars. Julie Chrisley, 49, would be eligible for probation with specialized requirements and no jail time, according to her attorneys.
In June, the Chrisleys were found guilty of conspiring to deceive the IRS, bank fraud, and tax evasion. Additionally found guilty of wire fraud and obstructing the justice, Julie Chrisley.
An accountant engaged by the couple, Peter Tarantino, 60, was found guilty of conspiring to cheat the IRS and knowingly submitting fraudulent tax forms. He was given a three-year jail term on Monday, followed by three years of supervised release.
According to prosecutors, the Chrisleys lied to banks in order to get loans totaling more than $30 million. When Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy, they walked away from their obligation to return the debts when that strategy failed. They began their reality show when they were insolvent and “flaunted their riches and lifestyle to the American public,” according to the prosecution, before hiding the millions they earned from the program from the IRS.
Prosecutors said that the Chrisleys also persuaded friends and family members to lie under oath during their trial and provided a phony document to a grand jury that was looking into their crimes. Prosecutors said that neither had shown regret for their actions and had instead placed the responsibility for their wrongdoing on others.
The degree to which the Chrisleys engaged in fraud and obstructive activity over an extended period of time, as well as the variety and breadth of their fraudulent conduct, make them exceptional, according to the prosecution.
In a petition, Todd Chrisley’s attorneys claimed that the government never provided any proof that he intended to mislead the banks and that the loss figure determined was inaccurate. They added that the crimes were long ago committed, he has no significant criminal history, and he suffers from physical issues that “would make incarceration unduly harsh.”
Additionally, his attorneys sent letters from friends and coworkers that demonstrate “a history of good actions and desire to serve others.” They said that while Chrisley remains in jail, those who depend on him—including his mother and the several others hired by his television programs—will suffer.
They requested that the court impose a jail term below the range of the guidelines, followed by a period of supervised release and reparations.
Julie Chrisley’s attorneys argued that she was not engaged when the loans mentioned in the sentencing papers were secured and that she had a little part in the conspiracy. Her attorneys requested a sentence of probation, restitution, and community service, noting that she has no past convictions, contributes to her community, and has “exceptional familial commitments.”
In addition to having full custody of Todd Chrisley’s son from a previous marriage, whose daughter is 10 years old, the Chrisleys have three children altogether, one of whom is 16 years old. According to the paperwork, Julie Chrisley is the main caretaker for her ill mother-in-law.
Additionally, her attorneys provided letters from character witnesses praising her for being “sturdy in character, hard-working, dependably unselfish, committed to her family and friends, and highly loved by everyone who know her.”
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