Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley of Chrisley KnowsBest were slapped with a dozen federal charges on Tuesday. Their accountant,Peter Tarantino, has also been charged with financial crimes. According to the U.S.Attorney’s office in Georgia, the couple was under investigation by the FBI forfraud and other offenses, and officials want to send the message that celebritiesare not above the law. But what’s going on and how have the Chrisleys responded?
Bank fraud and tax evasion are among the charges
Per the pressrelease from the Department of Justice, the Chrisleys are charged with bankfraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy. Tarantino has been charged withtax-related crimes. The FBI and DOJ allege that between 2007 and 2012, theChrisleys conspired and falsified information given to banks to obtain millionsof dollars in loans. This occurred when the family was still living in Georgia;currently, they reside in Tennessee.
After obtaining the loan funds, they used the money for personal gain, and allegedly created fake bank records and credit reports in the pursuit of trying to lease a house in California. But that’s not all. While Todd Chrisley openly declared on a radio show in 2017 that he pays the federal government (namely, the IRS) almost $1 million dollars each year, the indictment alleges that the couple did not pay taxes for at least four years.
The DOJ statement reads:
“Instead, the Chrisleys andTarantino allegedly took steps to obstruct IRS collection efforts, whichincluded hiding income, lying to third parties about their tax returns, and –in Tarantino’s case – lying to FBI and IRS-CI Special Agents.”
The case is still under investigationby the FBI and the IRS’s criminal unit. U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak had this tosay about the indictment:
“Todd and Julie Chrisley are charged not only with defrauding a number of banks by fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in loans, but also with allegedly cheating taxpayers by actively evading paying federal taxes on the money they earned. Celebrities face the same justice that everyone does. These are serious federal charges and they will have their day in court.”
How the Chrisleys responded
The Associated Press reported that the Chrisleys’ TV show has run on USA for seven seasons and includes a spinoff, a canceled talk show, and an ongoing podcast. According to the report, the Chrisleys stated in an Instagram post that the charges are no surprise but the root cause is a dispute with a former “unqualified employee.”
In the post, Todd Chrisley asserts that the employeeforged documents and did other illegal things without their knowledge, and theyhave evidence to prove their innocence. The Chrisleys deny the accusations andsaid they have done nothing wrong, have nothing to hide, and have nothing to beashamed of.
The AP also reports that the U.S. Attorney’s office plans onseeking prison time for the Chrisleys. If convicted, they could be facing finesand more than five years for just the tax evasion charges alone. In spite of thepotential penalties looming above their heads, the Chrisleys don’t seem to beworried.
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