“The Chrisleys have built an empire based on the lie that their wealth came from dedication and hard work,” prosecutors said. “The jury’s unanimous verdict sets the record straight: Todd and Julie Chrisley are career swindlers who have made a living by jumping from one fraud scheme to another, lying to banks, stiffing vendors and evading taxes at every corner.”
With the help of a former business partner, the Chrisleys used fake bank statements, audit reports and personal financial statements to defraud banks in the Atlanta area to get more than $36 million in personal loans, according to the Justice Department. The couple used that money to buy luxury cars, real estate and other lavish goods. After they spent all of the money, Mr. Chrisley filed for bankruptcy, the Justice Department said.
Then, after earning millions of dollars from their reality TV show, the couple conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service with the help of their accountant, Peter Tarantino, 60, prosecutors said. To avoid paying about $500,000 in delinquent taxes owed by Mr. Chrisley, the couple opened corporate bank accounts in Ms. Chrisley’s name, according to the Justice Department. But when the I.R.S. asked for information about the accounts in Ms. Chrisley’s name, the couple changed ownership of their corporate bank account to another family member to hide their income from the I.R.S., the Justice Department said.
(Later, after learning about the grand jury investigation, Ms. Chrisley filed a false document to a grand jury subpoena to make it look as if the couple had not lied to the bank when they moved the ownership of the corporate account to a relative, the Justice Department said.)
The couple did not file or pay taxes in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, and, as part of the scheme, Mr. Tarantino filed two corporate tax returns for the loan-out company that falsely claimed that the company did not earn money or make distributions in 2015 and 2016, according to the Justice Department.
Along with sentencing the Chrisleys on Monday, Judge Ross sentenced Mr. Tarantino to three years in prison and three years of probation; he was convicted in June of filing false corporate tax returns for the Chrisleys’ company.
Ryan K. Buchanan, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said in a statement that the length of the Chrisleys’ sentences reflected “the magnitude of their criminal scheme,” adding that they “should serve as a warning to others tempted to exploit our nation’s community banking system for unlawful personal gain.”