Todd Chrisley and Julie Chrisley have been sentenced to several years in federal prison after being sentenced on fraud and tax evasion charges. Todd Chrisley was sentenced to 12 years in prison, while his wife, Julie, received seven years, federal prosecutors said in a press release.
The “Chrisley Knows Best” stars were convicted during a jury trial in Georgia federal court in June 2022. Prosecutors were more than 20 years in prison Todd Chrisley and more than 10 years behind bars for Julie Chrisley. Ahead of the November 21, 2022, sentencing hearing, Todd Chrisley’s attorneys asked for less than nine years in prison, while Julie Chrisley’s lawyers sought probation or a combination of incarceration and home detention.
The Chrisleys, who were indicted in 2019, are appealing the conviction and seeking a new trial, according to court records. They were sentenced by Judge Eleanor L. Ross in the Northern District of Georgia federal court in Atlanta.
U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan said in a statement after sentencing, “Over the course of a decade, the defendants defrauded banks out of tens of millions of dollars while evading payment of their federal income taxes. Their lengthy sentences reflect the magnitude of their criminal scheme and should serve as a warning to others tempted to exploit our nation’s community banking system for unlawful personal gain.”
Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Atlanta field office said in a statement, “As this sentencing proves, when you lie, cheat, and steal, justice is blind to your fame, fortune, and position. The FBI is proud to work with our law enforcement partners at the IRS and the U.S. Attorney’s office to pursue and prosecute individuals that are driven by greed to evade the law.”
Special Agent-in-Charge James Dorsey, who leads the IRS Criminal Investigation division in Atlanta, said in a statement, “The Chrisleys defrauded financial institutions and the Federal Government through tax evasion and other fraudulent means in an effort to minimize their tax liability, but project an image of wealth. This sentencing serves notice that no matter a person’s celebrity status, there are severe consequences for defrauding the American tax system.”
According to prosecutors, the Chrisleys, along with their accountant, Peter Tarantino, were convicted of conspiring to defraud community banks out of more than $30 million. They were also convicted of tax crimes, including conspiring to defraud the IRS and tax evasion. Julie Chrisley was convicted of wire fraud and obstruction of justice. Tarantino received three years in prison.
Buchanan said after their trial, “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. This office and our partner agencies will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute white collar criminals who flout the law.
Prosecutors said in a press release, “The Chrisleys, with the help of their former business partner, submitted false bank statements, audit reports, and personal financial statements to banks to obtain the millions of dollars in fraudulent loans. The Chrisleys then spent the money on luxury cars, designer clothes, real estate, and travel—and used new fraudulent loans to pay back old ones. After spending all the money, Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy and walked away from more than $20 million of the fraudulently obtained loans.”
The Chrisleys’ attorney, Steve Friedberg, told People they were “devastated and disappointed” by the jury’s verdict, adding that they would be appealing. Friedberg said, “Julie and Todd are so grateful for the love and support shown by their family, friends and fans. They both remain strong in their faith and will continue the fight until they are vindicated. They have their priorities in order and are currently concentrating on the welfare of their children and Todd’s mother, Elizabeth Faye Chrisley.”
Prosecutors SOught Up to 21 1/2 Years in Prison for Todd Chrisley & Up to 12 1/2 Years for Julie Chrisley
Prosecutors said in their sentencing memorandum, which can be read here, that Todd Chrisley should receive a prison sentence of between 210 to 262 months, while Julie Chrisley should receive between 121 to 151 months behind bars.
They wrote in the sentencing memo, “Unlike many white-collar criminals, the Chrisleys did not need a dime from their fraud and tax evasion schemes. They were already wealthy. At its peak, the Chrisleys earned at least $600,000 a month … and they later began earning millions from their reality show. No necessity or hardship existed that justifies or explains the money they stole from banks or the income they hid from the IRS. Neither can credibly say that they had to commit fraud to put bread on their family’s table. … Todd Chrisley’s spending habits required him to spend half a million dollars a month just to stay afloat. … And while the fraud scheme continued, Todd and Julie spent a mindboggling amount of money.”
Prosecutors added, “Todd and Julie Chrisley’s crime spree culminated in their attempts to obstruct the grand jury’s investigation and putting up witnesses to lie for them at trial, including Todd’s mother and his oldest daughter from his first marriage. … This sentencing will be the first time that Todd and Julie Chrisley are held accountable for their fifteen-year fraud spree.”
They wrote, “The seriousness of the Chrisleys’ crimes cannot be understated. After they defrauded community banks out of tens of millions of dollars, they hid millions of dollars from the IRS, all while going on television to boast about how much they spend on designer clothes. And when they learned that they were under investigation for those crimes, they involved their own family members and friends to obstruct justice. The seriousness of their actions is further underscored by the fact that neither defendant has expressed remorse for their crimes, instead continuing to blame others for their own criminal conduct. Given the seriousness of the Chrisleys’ crimes, a lengthy period of incarceration is warranted.”
Todd Chrisley’s Lawyers Asked the Judge to Sentence Him to No More Than 9 Years in Prison & His Wife’s Attorneys Sought Probation With Special Conditions
Attorneys for Todd and Julie Chrisley sought much less time in prison for the reality stars, according to court documents. In their sentencing memorandum for Todd Chrisley, which can be read here, his attorneys asked for up to nine years in prison and requested a sentence on the lower end of the guidelines. In their sentencing memo for Julie Chrisley, which can be read here, her lawyers asked for a sentence of probation with special conditions, or if prison time is required, a mix of time behind bars and on home detention.
“Todd Chrisley has no significant criminal history,” his attorneys wrote. “There is little if any concern that he will re-offend. The letters submitted by friends and business associates evidence a history of good deeds and striving to help others. He is charitable and giving. He is a good husband and father. He is a good son.” They added:
Many people rely on Todd Chrisley and will be severely and negatively impacted when he is sentenced to imprisonment. His mother is one such person. The concern for her is serious and real based upon her age, infirmities and health. Likewise, the scores of people who are employed in the production and filming of the Chrisley television shows will be harmed when he is incarcerated. All of these considerations are appropriate when determining a reasonable sentence for Todd Chrisley.
The combination of factors set forth above permits a sentence for Todd Chrisley that both recognizes the severity of his offenses and respects the reality of his circumstances. He has fully accounted for all income— filed corrected and amended tax returns; paid the additional taxes, interest and penalties. A below Guideline sentence with accompanying conditions is warranted.
Julie Chrisley’s lawyers wrote, “a reasonable sentence for Ms. Chrisley does not include incarceration. She has never before been convicted of any crime, the likelihood of her ever committing another crime in the future is nil, she had a minimal role in the offenses charged, she has proved to be an asset to her community, and, most importantly, she has extraordinary family obligations that would make her incarceration unjust. In light of these mitigating factors, a reasonable sentence for Ms. Chrisley would be probation with special conditions.”
They cite letters from friends and family that they say, “show Ms. Chrisley is hard-working, unfailingly selfless, devoted to her family and friends, highly respected by all who know her, and strong of character. … Her friends and family, and indeed the public in general, would be much better served if Ms. Chrisley is given a non-custodial sentence.
Todd Chrisley’s lawyers wrote about the government’s sentencing recommendation, “Not only does the calculation result in a sentence range that equates the defendant to murderers or international terrorists, it is also based on a methodology that is fundamentally flawed, rooted in speculation, contrary to objective empirical evidence, and inherently unreliable.”
The Chrisleys are also seeking staggered or delayed sentences if they are sentenced to prison time, requesting they be able to serve their time behind bars at separate times so one of them can be with their children at all times, court documents show.
“If the Court determines a sentence including a period of incarceration is warranted for Ms. Chrisley, and in the event Todd Chrisley is also sentenced to a period of incarceration, Ms. Chrisley requests that her incarceration and Mr. Chrisley’s incarceration be staggered to allow Ms. Chrisley to remain on supervised release until Mr. Chrisley finishes serving his sentence or, in the alternative, until Chloe Chrisley finishes high school or turns 18 years old,” the lawyers wrote. “As discussed above, both Chloe and Grayson are substantially dependent on Ms. Chrisley and Mr. Chrisley for their wellbeing. Were both parents to serve incarceration at the same time, it would cause an extreme hardship on both these minor children.”
The Chrisleys Asked to Have Their Sentencing to Be Delayed While Their Post-Trial Motions Were Considered
In the leadup to sentencing, attorneys for the Chrisleys filed a request for the sentencing to be delayed pending a ruling related to their appeal. In a November 18 filing, their attorneys asked the judge to compel prosecutors to respond to the Chrisleys’ motion to for reconsideration of the court’s order denying a new trial and to “provide certain information about the alleged loss amounts.”
Their attorneys wrote, “motions remain outstanding that affect their fundamental rights, and which should give the Court serious pause. Proceeding to sentencing without any hearing on these issues, and without requiring the prosecutors to respond to sworn and corroborated allegations that they have suborned perjury (and then misled this Court about it), would violate the Defendants’ due process rights.”
They added, “This Court can and should take a different path. This Court has no responsibility for the actions of the government at trial, and we respectfully suggest that, at a minimum, a response from the government is required, in addition to an evidentiary hearing. These steps will take time, which requires a continuance of the sentencing hearing.”
In another November 18 filing, their attorneys asked the judge to allow their minor children to testify during the sentencing in a closed courtroom. They filed the motion to seal the courtroom and allow for Zoom testimony by Grayson Chrisley, 16, and Chloe Chrisley, 10.
“Here, the overriding interest is protecting a 16 year old and a 10 year old from the psychological trauma of testifying to the public at large,” the Chrisleys’ lawyers wrote. “Grayson Chrisley and Chloe Chrisley are expected to testify concerning highly confidential matters. Subjecting these children to testifying about these matters in open court would cause needless emotional and psychological strain and likely inhibit their ability to testify fully and truthfully, particularly given the significant amount of press coverage of Defendants’ case and the nature of these proceedings.”