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Reality Stars Todd and Julie Chrisley Convicted of Tax Evasion and Bank Fraud | May Face Up to 30 Years in Prison

Reality Stars Todd and Julie Chrisley Convicted of Tax Evasion and Bank Fraud | May Face Up to 30 Years in Prison

They are accused of swindling at least $30 million from community banks, later filing for bankruptcy to avoid $20 million in debt.

After a three-week trial, Todd and Julie Chrisley were found guilty of all charges of bank and tax fraud. The reality TV stars could face up to 30 years in prison.

The Chrisleys' representative did not immediately comment on the verdict, however, Bruce Morris, the couple's lawyer told PEOPLE that they are "disappointed in the verdict" and "an appeal is planned." Todd and Julie were found guilty of conspiracy to conduct bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and tax fraud by a federal jury. Their federal trial began on May 16 in Atlanta, where they lived for several years before relocating to Nashville.



 

 

Julie was found guilty of wire fraud as well. The decision was made on Tuesday after the jurors began deliberations on Friday and a sentencing date has yet to be scheduled, per Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to federal prosecutors, the Chrisley Knows Best pair deliberately "swindled" at least $30 million from community banks between 2007 and 2012 by inflating their net worth to get loans, specifically targeting smaller banks that conducted less due diligence than larger banks. 

Then, in 2012, Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy, wiping off $20 million in loan debt.

Prosecutors alleged that the pair actively hid millions of dollars they earned through Chrisley Knows Best, as well as the $500,000 in unpaid taxes Todd owed for 2009. It was alleged that the couple wilfully evaded taxes since 2009. They were accused of forming a shell company, 7C's Productions, in Julie's name after the reality show began to prevent the IRS from seizing the $500,000 owed from 2009.



 

 

Morris claimed in his opening statement that the Chrisleys were victims of a guy named Mark Braddock, who controlled his firm, Chrisley Asset Management, and defrauded them without their knowledge until they dismissed him in 2012. Braddock subsequently went to the US Attorney's office and got federal immunity in exchange for evidence against the Chrisleys, per Morris.

Keri Farley, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a press release from the US Attorney’s office, "As today’s outcome shows, when you lie, cheat and steal, justice is blind as to your fame, your fortune, and your position. In the end, when driven by greed, the verdict of guilty on all counts for these three defendants proves once again that financial crimes do not pay."



 

 

The proceedings follow the Chrisleys' August 2019 indictment by a federal grand jury on 12 charges of bank and wire fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy, all of which they denied. In October 2019, the pair was acquitted of a state tax evasion allegation in Georgia but they were still facing federal accusations for allegedly evading federal taxes. 

After a break in December, the ninth season of Chrisley Knows Best is set to resume on June 23. The program has been renewed for a tenth season. Todd also hosts and executive produces Love Limo, a speed-dating matchmaking series.

References:

https://www.ajc.com/life/radiotvtalk-blog/reality-stars-todd-julie-chrisley-guilty-on-all-counts-in-federal-tax-evasion-trial/FVA226HPVJHFLA3QWCNAZD4VYA/

https://people.com/tv/todd-chrisley-julie-chrisley-found-guilty-all-counts-bank-fraud-tax-evasion/?

Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Danielle Del Valle