Todd and Julie Chrisley of ‘Chrisley Knows Best’ indicted on charges of bank fraud and tax evasion

Chrisley Knows Best, Chrisley tax evasion, Todd Julie Chrisley tax evasion, Peter Tarantino, Chrisley criminal charges

Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Chrisley Knows Best, Chrisley tax evasion, Todd Julie Chrisley tax evasion, Peter Tarantino, Chrisley criminal charges

Originally posted Tuesday, August 13, 2019 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

A federal grand jury in Atlanta indicted Todd and Julie Chrisley, stars of the hit USA Network reality show "Chrisley Knows Best," on charges of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion.

Peter Tarantino, the Chrisleys' accountant, has also been indicted on charges of 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 the financial fraud happened between 2007 to about 2012, alleging they provided banks with false information such as personal financial statements containing false information, and fabricated bank statements when applying for and receiving millions of dollars in loans.

Todd Chrisley, on his Instagram Monday, tried to get ahead of the story by blaming an unnamed “trusted employee” who he said created phony documents, forged signatures, bugged their phones and threatened other employees with violence if they spoke of the actions of this employee. The employee was terminated in 2012.

"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," Todd wrote in his post.. Todd said he was able to prove to the U.S. Attorney the accusations were false an said the case was dismissed.

He claimed the former employee convinced other investigators with the U.S. Attorney's office to reopen the case and the former employee was given immunity from prosecution.

The family, Todd wrote, has "nothing to hide and have done nothing to be ashamed of."

Their attorneys released a statement Wednesday largely aping what he wrote in Instagram, adding: “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.”

Todd, 51, and Julie, 46, now live in Nashville. They resided in Atlanta for several years and were doing so when the “Chrisley Knows Best” reality show debuted in 2014. They moved to Nashville around 2016.

The show is in its seventh season and has aired about 130 episodes.  The most recent episode aired on USA Network on July 30.

In 2017, Georgia filed more than $700,000 in liens from 2009 against the Chrisleys, who allegedly evaded paying state taxes by pretending to live in Florida, where there is no state income tax, according to a Channel 2 Action News investigation at the time. It's unclear if that has been resolved.

Todd and Julie also allegedly did not file income tax returns in a timely fashion for the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 tax years or timely pay federal income taxes for any of those years, a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.