Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley will be sentenced

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dated: 2022-11-20 15:13:29 .

ATLANTA (AP) – Todd and Julie Chrisley were driven by greed when they participated in a massive bank fraud scheme and then hid their assets from the IRS while flaunting their lavish lifestyles, federal prosecutors said, arguing that the reality stars TV programs should receive long prison sentences.

The Chrisleys rose to fame with their show “Chrisley Knows Best,” which follows their close-knit, tumultuous family. They were found guilty federally in June and are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross in a hearing that begins Monday and is expected to last until Tuesday.

Using a process to calculate indicative sentencing ranges based on multiple factors, prosecutors determined that the upper end of that range was nearly 22 years for Todd Chrisley and approximately 12.5 years for Julie Chrisley. The couple should also be ordered to pay restitution, the public prosecutor wrote in a court document.

“The Chrisleys built an empire based on the lie that their wealth came from dedication and hard work,” prosecutors wrote. “The jury’s unanimous verdict lays bare the truth: Todd and Julie Chrisley are professional fraudsters who made their living jumping from one scam to another, lying to banks, lying to vendors and dodging taxes around every corner.”

The Chrisleys disagree with the government’s benchmark calculations. Attorneys for Todd Chrisley wrote in a filing that he should not face more than nine years in prison and that the judge should sentence him below the lower limit of the guidelines. Julie Chrisley’s attorneys wrote that the appropriate sentence for her would be probation with special conditions and no jail time.

The Chrisleys were convicted in June of bank fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the IRS. Julie Chrisley was also convicted of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

Peter Tarantino, an accountant employed by the couple, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the IRS and willful preparation of false tax returns. He will be sentenced along with the Chrisleys.

Prosecutors said the couple submitted false documents to banks and managed to secure more than $30 million in fraudulent loans. When that plan failed, they waived responsibility for the loan repayments when Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy. While bankrupt, they launched their own reality show and “deemed their wealth and lifestyle to the American public,” prosecutors wrote. When they started making millions from their show, they hid the money from the IRS to avoid taxes.

The Chrisleys submitted a false document to a grand jury investigating their crimes, then convinced friends and family members to tell the lies by testifying under oath during the trial, prosecutors wrote. None of them showed remorse and instead blamed others for their own criminal behavior, prosecutors wrote.

“The Chrisleys are unique given the varied and broad scope of their fraudulent conduct and the extent to which they engaged in fraudulent and obstructive conduct over an extended period of time,” prosecutors wrote.

Todd Chrisley’s lawyers wrote in a court filing that the government never presented any evidence that he intended to defraud one of the banks and that the amount of the loss calculated by the government was wrong. They also noted that the crimes for which he was convicted were committed a long time ago. He does not have a serious criminal history or health problems that would “make prison disproportionately difficult,” they wrote.

His lawyers submitted letters from friends and business associates showing “a history of good deeds and efforts to help others.” People who rely on Chrisley – including his mother and “a number of people” employed by his television shows – have been harmed while he is in prison, his lawyers wrote.

They asked the judge to sentence him to a lesser prison term than the standard, followed by supervised release and probation.

Julie Chrisley’s attorneys wrote in a filing that she played only a minimal role in the conspiracy and was not involved in obtaining the loans discussed in the sentencing documents. She has no criminal record, is an asset to her community and has “extraordinary family responsibilities,” her lawyers wrote as they sought probation, restitution and community service.

The Chrisleys have three children together, including one who is 16, and also have full custody of Todd Chrisley’s son’s 10-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. Julie Chrisley is the primary caregiver for her ailing mother-in-law, the filing states. Her lawyers submitted letters to family and friends saying she was “hardworking, tirelessly selfless, devoted to her family and friends, respected by all she knew and of strong character.”

If the judge sentences both Chrisleys to prison, Julie Chrisley’s attorneys have asked that their sentences be staggered so she can be released on supervised release until her husband serves time or her granddaughter turns 18.

Kate Brumback, The Associated Press

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Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley will be sentenced

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