In an emotional podcast released before Todd and Julie Chrisley were sentenced to prison terms, Savannah Chrisley reacted to her parents’ tax evasion case and talked about what’s to come.
“I’m grieving the loss of parents that are still alive,” Savannah Chrisley said in the latest episode of her podcast “Unlocked.”
Chrisley, who at the time of recording the podcast did not know how much time her parents would serve, said the family planned an appeal. She said she will take custody of her 16-year-old brother Grayson, the Chrisleys’ youngest child, and her 10-year-old niece Chloe, who Todd and Julie Chrisley got full custody of in 2016.
“I’m not really sure what my future looks like,” Chrisley said in the podcast. “I have to be a positive role model for Chloe and Grayson. I have to show up, no matter how hard it gets, I have to show up.”
U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross sentenced Todd Chrisley to 12 years in prison followed by three years of supervised released, while Julie Chrisley was sentenced to seven years in prison and three years of supervised released.
They were found guilty on all counts of bank fraud and tax evasion by a federal jury in June. The Chrisleys are also ordered to pay restitution that will be determined at a later date. The couple has until Jan. 15, 2023, to report to prison.
Savannah Chrisley claimed her parents were convicted “off of lies.” Chrisley said her parents case is about “proving a point” and for prosecutors to “make a name for themselves.”
“I know what my parents have done and haven’t done. I’m going to stick by them and their innocence. We are going to continue to fight and file for an appeal,” she said.
She pledged to work with organizations that help families impacted by incarceration.
“It’s just really sad how our justice system works and continues to fail people time and time again,” she said. “I vow to be a voice to those who don’t have a voice and to stand up for those that can’t fight for themselves.”
In a statement, the Chrisleys’ attorney, Alex Little, said they plan to file an appeal in the coming weeks.
“Yesterday was a difficult day for the Chrisley family. But Todd and Julie are people of faith, and that faith gives them strength as they appeal their convictions. Their trial was marred by serious and repeated errors, including the government lying to jurors about what taxes the couple paid. Based on these issues, we are optimistic about the road ahead,” Little said in a statement.
The couple filed a joint motion for a new trial in August prosecutors had knowingly used perjured testimony from an IRS revenue officer, failed to disclose materially exculpatory evidence and improperly denied their belated motion to suppress evidence as untimely. On Oct. 3, prosecutors filed a motion asking the court to deny the Chrisleys’ motion for a new trial.
In an Oct. 28 ruling, Ross denied the Chrisleys’ motion for a new trial with reasoning behind the ruling expected at a later date. Sentencing was originally set for that week on Oct. 6 in federal court but was rescheduled for Nov. 21.
According to a sentencing memorandum obtained last week by Channel 2 Action News, Todd Chrisley faced between 17 and 22 years in prison, and Julie Chrisley faced 10 to 13 years. The document asked for more than $17 million to be paid in restitution.
“As today’s outcome shows, when you lie, cheat and steal, justice is blind as to your fame, your fortune and your position,” said Keri Farley, special agent of FBI Atlanta, in a statement released from the U.S. Attorney’s Office following the guilty verdict. “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.”
Prosecutors argued the Chrisleys deliberately “swindled” more than $36 million from Atlanta community banks from 2007 to 2012 by inflating their net worth to get loans, purposely targeting smaller banks that did less due diligence than larger ones, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Todd Chrisley later filed for bankruptcy in 2012, erasing $20 million in loan debt.
Prosecutors also alleged the couple actively hid millions they made from their reality show, which began in 2014, as well as $500,000 in taxes Todd Chrisley owed in 2009. The couple are alleged to have actively evaded taxes going back to 2009, the AJC reported.
At the time of most of the alleged illegal activity, the Chrisleys were living in metro Atlanta before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2016.
Attorneys for the couple argued they were actually victims of Mark Braddock, who oversaw Chrisley Asset Management and did all the defrauding without the couple’s knowledge until he was fired in 2012. Braddock received federal immunity from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in exchange for evidence against the Chrisleys, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
The family three shows, “Chrisley Knows Best”, a sitcom-style reality show featuring the family; “Growing Up Chrisley,” a reality show following the couple’s children Savannah and Chase Chrisley; and “Love Limo,” a dating spinoff show hosted by Todd Chrisley, have all been canceled following the sentencing, Deadline reported.
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