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'Chrisley Knows Best' stars' case returns to court in Atlanta

Rosie Manins, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Entertainment News

ATLANTA — Fifteen months after former Atlanta multimillionaires Todd and Julie Chrisley began their federal prison sentences in relation to a $36 million bank fraud scheme and tax evasion, the one-time reality television stars’ bid to overturn their convictions will be heard by an appeals court.

Attorneys for the Chrisleys on April 19 will try to convince federal appellate judges in Atlanta that the couple’s three-week trial and subsequent sentencing in 2022 were flawed for several reasons.

Todd Chrisley, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of eight charges, wants to be acquitted on two tax-related charges and granted a new trial on the remaining counts. He’s challenging the testimony of an IRS officer who he claims lied to jurors about the taxes the couple owed, as well as evidence he says was illegally obtained.

Julie Chrisley, sentenced to seven years behind bars, is asking for acquittal on the five bank fraud charges that she was convicted of, and to be resentenced on five other counts that jurors also found her guilty on. She’s fighting the $17.2 million restitution that both Chrisleys were ordered to pay and a related $17.2 million forfeiture ruling allowing prosecutors to take their property.

Peter Tarantino, the Chrisleys’ former accountant who was prosecuted alongside them, is also appealing his convictions. Tarantino wants a new trial on his three tax evasion-related charges, for which he was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $35,000.

The Chrisleys got rich working in real estate and landed a reality television show about their family in late 2013. Cameras followed them around Roswell and Alpharetta before they moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2016. They were indicted in August 2019.

At the Chrisleys’ sentencing in November 2022, prosecutors slammed their apparent greed, saying they were already raking in more than $600,000 a month when they fraudulently obtained $36 million in bank loans over several years. From 2006, the couple deceived almost a dozen banks, many of which were community banks in the Atlanta area, the federal government alleged. The 29 loans at issue put three banks into receivership, records show.

The Chrisleys blamed the bank fraud on a former manager of their Atlanta-based real estate business, Mark Braddock, who was the government’s key informant and witness in the case. He received immunity from prosecution.

 

The Chrisleys’ tax evasion convictions related to their failure to timely file federal tax returns and pay outstanding taxes over several years. Prosecutors said they used the company through which they received millions of dollars from their television show to hide Todd Chrisley’s income so the IRS couldn’t collect his outstanding taxes.

Todd Chrisley had walked away from more than $20 million in bank loan debt when he filed for bankruptcy in 2012, prosecutors said. They claimed he owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal taxes dating back to 2009.

By the time the Chrisleys were sentenced, they had paid the federal taxes they owed.

The sentencing judge said she couldn’t ignore the couple’s “egregious greed and flamboyance,” after watching a clip from their television show in which Todd Chrisley boasted about their 30,000-square-foot house north of Atlanta and yearly clothing bill in excess of $300,000.

The couple were separately investigated by the Georgia Department of Revenue over their state taxes. The department settled its tax evasion case against them in 2019.

The Chrisleys recently settled for $1 million a civil case they brought against a department official in relation to the state’s investigation. This month, a Georgia jury ordered Todd Chrisley to pay $755,000 to another department investigator whom he slandered in podcasts and on social media.

Oral arguments in the Chrisleys’ federal criminal case are scheduled for 9 a.m. April 19 in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.


©2024 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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