Timeline of the Chrisleys Federal Fraud Case

Todd and Julie Chrisley posing for a campaign photo- timeline of federal fraud case

Reality shows showcasing glitz and glamour are nothing new. If you believe it was just the Kardashians or the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills who pioneered the laying bare of such a glamorous life, then you have to see the Chrisleys in “Chrisley Knows Best”.
Chrisley Knows Best” revolves around the family of Todd Chrisley, an Atlanta-based self-made millionaire, along with his wife Julie and their five children, portraying a seemingly perfect Southern life with everything money can have. However, reality caught up with this TV family when Todd and Julie were found guilty in the federal fraud case they were embroiled in.

With tax season looming once more, it’s worth revisiting the $30 million federal fraud case timeline of the Chrisleys, which marked the decline of the once-coveted “Chrisley Knows Best” show.

What is a Federal Fraud Case and How the Chrisleys Case Considered One

Dollar bills falling with a caution sign to describe a federal fraud case.

Todd and Julie Chrisley have been sentenced to 12 and 7 years respectively, following a three-week trial where a jury convicted them of federal fraud charges. The investigation revealed that over a decade, they defrauded banks out of tens of millions of dollars while also evading payment of their federal income taxes.

Federal fraud cases refer to legal situations in which individuals or entities are accused of engaging in fraudulent activities that violate the laws. Fraud involves intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, and when such actions fall under federal jurisdictions the case is categorized as a federal fraud case. These cases are typically investigated and prosecuted by federal agencies and may encompass various types such as financial fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, and more. 

The “Chrisley Knows Best” fraud case centered on defrauding community banks in the Atlanta area to secure over $35 million in personal loans. The Chrisleys went as far as submitting false bank statements, audit reports, and personal financial statements to Georgia community banks in the pursuit of obtaining these loans. Subsequently, Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy, aiming to discharge more than $20 million in fraudulently obtained loans.

Their accountant, Peter Tarantino, was also implicated in conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Throughout the conspiracy, the Chrisleys operated a loan-out company to evade the collection of half a million in delinquent taxes. Additionally, they neglected to pay taxes for four consecutive years.

Order of Events in the “Chrisley Knows Best” Fraud Case

“I have been reading and praying and praying with my prayer partner and believing that the journey we’re all on, that there is a reason. There is a purpose,” expressed Julie.

“ I believe that growth comes at the deepest part of the pain,” Todd Chrisley added. “ I believe that the harder it gets, the closer to God we need to cling.”

These were the sentiments shared by Julie and Todd Chrisley as they face charges of tax evasion, along with 12 counts of bank fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, among other offenses. 

However, US Atty. Byung J. “BJay” Pak has uttered words of his own, warning“Just because you’re rich and on a TV show doesn’t mean the law is not going to come get you when you commit a federal crime.”

Let us delve into what transpired with the Chrisleys that may have led them to commit these crimes.

Before the Fame

Where It All Started 

Todd and Julie celebrates their second anniversary on the second season finale of Chrisley Knows Best.

Before Todd and Julie exchanged vows in 1996, they each had individual lives. Todd had a previous marriage to his high school sweetheart, Teresa Terry, resulting in their eldest daughter, Lindsie, and eldest son, Kyle. During a tumultuous divorce from Terry, Todd crossed paths with Julie, a South Carolina native working at a local bank.

Before Todd, Julie had married construction worker Kenneth Wayne Childress in 1991. Todd and Julie eventually married in 1996 and welcomed their first child and eventual co-star Chase, later that same year.

The Chrisley Family Grows

The Chrisleys started as a family of three for just over a year until Julie gave birth to their daughter, Savannah Chrisley, in August 1997. Juggling two kids, Todd and Julie established their business empire by founding the real estate management company Chrisley Asset Management and subsequently relocated to the affluent Atlanta suburb of Roswell.

Less than ten years later, the family expanded once again as Todd and Julie welcomed a second son, Grayson, in May 2006.

A Stronger Relationship 

In 2012, Julie Chrisley received a diagnosis of breast cancer and opted for a double mastectomy. In a 2018 interview with The Tennessean, she reflected on the support extended by her husband during the treatment. 

She expressed to the publication that she believes that that moment took their relationship to a whole other level.

Lights, Camera, Chrisley!

Rising to Fame

On March 11, 2014 “Chrisley Knows Best” premiered on the USA Network as part of their initiative to broaden reality TV programming. The family’s 30,000-square-foot mansion in Roswell becomes the stage for Todd’s assertive parenting style and the transformation of Chrisley family conflicts into comedic moments.

The show gained a substantial viewership, which kept them on air. The network noted that “Chrisley Knows Best” stood as its most-watched original series, with an average of 1.8 million total viewers. However, despite the outward portrayal of the family’s affluent lifestyle, behind the scenes, Julie and Todd may have been facing financial challenges.

Kyle Chrisley Battles Drug Addiction 

In 2016, Kyle, Todd’s son from his first marriage, and Angela Johnson’s daughter Chloe were under Todd and Julie’s custody following Kyle’s struggles with substance abuse. Meanwhile, Johnson encountered legal issues herself, leading to an arrest related to a fraudulent Medicaid assistance application.

Kyle wrote, “ I haven’t been the best dad to Chloe, I’ve had a problem with drugs, I’ve acted completely ridiculous, and through all that, they stood by my side.”

Todd is Reality King 

As “Chrisley Knows Best” grows in popularity, Todd Chrisley receives the Reality King award at the American Reality Television Awards in November 2016.

The Chrisley Confessions 

In June 2018, “Chrisley Knows Best” reached its 100th episode milestone. The extensive Chrisley empire encompasses various ventures, such as “According to Chrisley,” a late-night show hosted by Todd, the cooking web series “What’s Cooking With Julie Chrisley,” the spinoff “Growing Up Chrisley,” and “Love Limo,” which is hosted and executive produced by Todd.

In August, the first episode of the couple’s podcast, “Chrisley Confessions” airs its first episode on iHeart Radio, extending the growing empire.

The End of an Empire

The Chrisley Knows Best Show and other shows with the Chrisleys were set to end after involvement to a federal fraud case.

The Downfall of an Empire

In August 2019, a federal jury in Atlanta indicted Todd and Julie on multiple counts of tax evasion, conspiracy, and wire fraud.

Todd Chrisley refutes the accusations, asserting that he and his wife “have nothing to hide” and believe they were framed by a former employee.

Unpaid Loans and Fraudulent Loans

In May 2022, the federal trial of the Chrisleys unfolded with the government asserting in public statements that the couple had exaggerated their earnings to banks, borrowing over $30 million that they were unable to pay.

The Chrisleys defrauded community banks in the Atlanta area, securing over $36 million in personal loans. With assistance from their former business partner, they submitted false bank statements, audit reports, and financial statements to Georgia community banks for loan approvals. The obtained funds were then lavishly spent on luxury cars, designer clothes, real estate, and travel. Notably, they used fraudulent loans to pay back old ones. Following the depletion of funds, Todd filed for bankruptcy, abandoning more than $20 million in fraudulently acquired loans.

In their opening statement, the Chrisleys reportedly pointed the finger at a former employee, accusing them of deception according to a report by the Insider.

Defrauding the IRS

In June 2022, prosecutors alleged that the Chrisleys concealed millions in income earned from their TV show,  neglecting to file taxes with the IRS for the years 2013 to 2016.

Upon discovering the investigation and the disclosure of the 7C’s Production account to the IRS, the Chrisleys, as testified by a Bank of America employee, witnessed Julie removing her name from the account and replacing it with her mother-in-law. Prosecutors claim this switch aimed to prevent the IRS from accessing funds in the account.

Subsequently, it emerged that while raking in millions from their TV show empire, Todd and Julie Chrisley, alongside their accountant Peter Tarantino, allegedly conspired to defraud the IRS. Tarantino faced conviction for filing two false corporate tax returns.

Before facing charges, the Chrisleys purportedly attempted to obstruct justice by submitting a fraudulent document in response to a grand jury subpoena.

Following a three-week, trial, the Chrisleys were convicted on all counts in a federal court in Georgia.

House Arrest 

The couple is currently on house arrest and subject to electronic monitoring until their sentencing.

As per the terms of release, Todd and Julie are required to remain at home, with exceptions only for work, school, religious services, or medical care. 

Additionally, they are obligated to inform their probation officers whenever they incur expenses exceeding $1000.

Throughout this, period, Todd and Julie relied on their podcast, “Chrisley Confessions,” as the primary means to connect with their fans. Despite the eight-month gap between their trial and the eventual commencement of their sentences, they consistently released weekly podcast episodes.

Filing a Motion 

The dates for the sentencing of Todd and Julie have been rescheduled to November 21, 2022, following their submission of a motion for a new trial. However, the judge denied the joint motion.

Receiving their Sentences

Almost five months after being found guilty, the sentences for Todd and Julie were disclosed.

US District Judge Eleanor pronounced the following sentences:

  • Todd Chrisley, 54, of Brentwood, Tennessee, received a 12-year prison term, followed by three years of supervised release.
  • Julie Chrisley, 49, of Brentwood Tennessee, was sentenced to seven years in prison, also followed by three years of supervised release.
  • Peter Tarantino, 60, of Alpharetta, Georgia, was handed a three-year prison sentence, along with three years of supervised release.

Following their jail time, all three were also sentenced to 16 months probation. 

It’s worth noting that both Todd and Julie received sentences below the federal sentencing guideline and less than what the prosecutors had requested. This leniency was attributed to their age and their responsibility for Todd’s mother, who is battling bladder cancer, as well as other relatives.

The Eventual Aftermath

Savannah Chrisley talks about "parenting" after taking custody of younger brother Grayson and niece Chloe after parents are sentenced on federal fraud crime.

A Plea for Leniency

After receiving his sentence, Todd appealed to the court to reduce his wife’s prison time, as reported by Insider.

The plea was based on the argument that Julie is the primary caregiver for 16-year-old Grayson and 10-year-old Chloe, both minors.

The court denied Julie’s request for home confinement until their adopted daughter, Chloe, reaches adulthood.

Subsequent to the sentencing, the couple’s eldest daughter, Savannah, 25, assumed custody of Chloe and Grayson.

Cancellation of Shows

After the couple’s sentencing, all their TV shows are canceled, and while a few pre-recorded episodes continue to broadcast, the eventual farewell is inevitable.

USA Network will broadcast a condensed season ten of “Chrisley Knows Best” in 2023.

Commencing their Sentences

On January 17, 2023, Todd and Julie turned themselves in to the federal Bureau of Prisons to commence their sentences.

Meanwhile, their accountant began serving his sentence on May 1, 2023.

Todd is serving his sentence at the Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola, Florida, while Julie is undergoing her sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky.

Coping Up

In August 2023, Savannah, who has taken the role of legal guardian for her niece Chloe and teenage brother Grayson, shared in her podcast “Unlocked with Savannah Chrisley” that she has been grappling with the absence of her parents.

“I’m helping to guide Chloe and Grayson through this process,” she said. “And I am having to guide them through this process as I’m trying to guide myself through this process which is very, very difficult.”

A Visual Look of The Chrisley’s Case Timeline with TrialLine

While much has been concluded in the Chrisleys’ case, the legal timeline is undergoing a reassessment due to the rapid unfolding of events. Currently, the Chrisleys are persistently attempting to contest the charges against them. 

Explore the timeline further with TrialLine, a legal timeline software crafted for law firms and attorneys seeking comprehensive insights into their cases. Let us take a look at how the Chrisleys case unfolded and discover how you can use TrialLine in a court case timeline.

(Click on the image to view)

Before drawing conclusions about the root cause of the unfortunate downfall, it’s essential to consider that, preceding the legal challenges, Todd was burdened with a substantial debt of $50 million. This financial strain was partly the result of unsuccessful real estate ventures, encompassing various mortgages totaling $12 million, a $4.4 million loan from his wife, and an outstanding IRS bill approaching $600,000. Additionally, Both Todd and Julie have seen reductions in their sentences due to their exemplary conduct.

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