Julie Chrisley must be resentenced, court rules

Todd and Julie Chrisley have lost their bid to overturn their convictions on bank fraud and tax evasion charges, for which they are serving 12 and seven-year prison sentences, respectively. (Courtesy)

Credit: File photo

Credit: File photo

Todd and Julie Chrisley have lost their bid to overturn their convictions on bank fraud and tax evasion charges, for which they are serving 12 and seven-year prison sentences, respectively. (Courtesy)

Former Atlanta multimillionaires and reality television stars Todd and Julie Chrisley have lost their bid to overturn their convictions on bank fraud and federal tax evasion charges, for which they are serving 12 and seven-year prison sentences, respectively.

The Atlanta-based federal appeals court upheld the Chrisleys’ convictions Friday.

But the court ordered an Atlanta trial judge to resentence Julie Chrisley, saying the judge did not clarify why Julie Chrisley was held accountable for all the money that banks allegedly lost as a result of the couple’s fraud.

“We affirm the district court on all issues except for the loss amount attributed to Julie,” the appeals court said. “We vacate Julie’s sentence and remand solely for the district court to make the factual findings and calculations necessary to determine loss, restitution, and forfeiture as to Julie and to resentence her accordingly.”

The former “Chrisley Knows Best” stars were jointly ordered to pay $17.2 million in restitution after being found guilty of fraudulently obtaining $36 million in bank loans and hiding millions of dollars in income to avoid paying federal taxes.

Their attorney, Alex Little, said members of the Chrisley family appreciate the continued support they’ve received throughout the case and are “hopeful for more good news in the future.”

“We’re pleased that the court agreed that Julie’s sentence was improper, but we’re obviously disappointed that it rejected Todd’s appeal,” he said.

Little argued in April that Todd Chrisley, 56, who was found guilty of eight charges, should be acquitted on two tax-related charges and granted a new trial on the remaining counts. He claimed the jury heard false testimony and saw evidence from an illegal warehouse raid.

Julie Chrisley, 51, wanted to be acquitted on five bank fraud charges and resentenced on five other counts. She fought 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 couple’s former accountant, also wanted his convictions to be overturned. Tarantino was prosecuted alongside the Chrisleys and sought a new trial, having been found guilty of three tax evasion-related charges, for which he was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $35,000.

Tarantino’s convictions and sentence were also upheld Friday.

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 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 helped 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.

During sentencing, the trial 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. In April, a Georgia jury ordered Todd Chrisley to pay $755,000 to another department investigator whom he slandered in podcasts and on social media.

The couple’s prison sentences began in January 2023. Todd Chrisley is in a minimum security prison in Pensacola, Florida. Julie Chrisley is in a prison facility in Lexington, Kentucky.