“Chrisley Knows Best” reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on multiple counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion. The couple deny any wrongdoing.
The couple’s accountant, Peter Tarantino, was also indicted on tax-related offenses.
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.
“Celebrities face the same justice that everyone does. These are serious federal charges and they will have their day in court,” Pak said in a statement.
“Chrisley Knows Best” has aired on the USA Network since 2014. It follows the trials and tribulations of the Chrisley family and is fueled by the amusing idiosyncrasies of strict patriarch Todd Chrisley, who worked in real estate. USA declined TheWrap’s request for comment Tuesday.
The series is currently on its seventh season — the first ten episodes aired in May, and the second half of the season is expected to air on USA this fall, according to a network insider.
Prosecutors said that from at least 2007 through 2012, Todd and Julie Chrisley conspired to defraud banks by providing them with false information, and fabricated bank statements when applying for and receiving millions of dollars in loans.
Prosecutors also said that in 2014, the Chrisleys used fabricated bank statements and a “fabricated credit report that had been physically cut and taped or glued together” to obtain a lease for a home in California.
In an Instagram post Monday, Todd Chrisley predicted what was to come.
“It looks like later this week Julie and I are going to be named in a federal indictment charging us with tax evasion and probably a bunch of other financial crimes as well,” he said. “We have nothing to hide and have done nothing to be ashamed of,” the post continues. “Not only do we know we’ve done nothing wrong, but we’ve got a ton of hard evidence with a bunch of corroborating witnesses to prove it.”
Chrisley said a former employee is responsible for the charges, and that he had committed crimes against the family including “creating phony documents, forging our signatures, and threatening other employees with violence if they said anything.”
“Needless to say,” Chrisley continued, “we fired the guy and took him to court — and that’s when the real trouble started. To get revenge, he took a bunch of his phony documents to the U.S. Attorney’s office and told them we had committed all kinds of financial crimes, like tax evasion and bank fraud.” You can read Todd Chrisley’s full statement in the instagram post below.
Here is a statement given to TheWrap from Bruce H. Morris and Stephen M. Friedberg, attorney for Todd and Julie Chrisley:
For quite some time now, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia has been conducting an investigation of Todd and Julie Chrisley based for the most part on the demonstrably false allegations of a former officer of a company they owned jointly. We saw the results of this effort yesterday–an indictment against Todd, Julie, and their accountant that relies largely if not entirely on emails that we know Todd never sent but rather were fabricated by this former employee.
This individual, identified in the indictment only as “Co-conspirator A,” first approached federal authorities in 2012, claiming he had evidence that Todd had been trying to avoid paying his taxes. What the authorities didn’t know, at least initially, was that he had been fired by the Chrisleys after they discovered he had been falsifying documents, forging their signatures, bugging their home, and intimidating other employees into covering up what amounted to a multi-million-dollar embezzlement scheme. These and many other criminal misdeeds were detailed in a federal RICO suit that the Chrisleys filed against him in 2012. Ironically, it was this lawsuit that sent him to the U.S. Attorney’s office. He wasn’t looking for justice but for revenge and his “evidence” against Todd consisted mainly of falsified documents.
Now, seven years later, the government has granted this individual immunity from prosecution for his own crimes and used his false allegations to bring an indictment against the Chrisleys. We have no doubt that if this case ever reaches a courtroom, Todd and Julie will be completely exonerated. But in the meantime, their reputation will be sullied by a shamefully unjustified prosecution based on testimony of a dishonest source who has somehow managed to successfully mislead prosecutors.