U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross on Monday sentenced a reality television couple to years in prison – five months after the court found them guilty of federal fraud charges and hiding their wealth from tax authorities. 

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, while Todd Chrisley was sentenced to 12 years, his wife – Julie Chrisley – was sentenced to seven and three years of supervised release.

The husband and wife best known for their USA Network series “Chrisley Knows Best,” were also ordered to pay restitution that will be determined at a later date.

In June, a federal jury in Atlanta found them guilty of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the United States.

The television stars were accused of conspiring to defraud Atlanta-area banks out of more than $30m in fraudulent loans in a scheme they carried on for years. 

Their accountant was also found guilty of tax fraud for filing false corporate tax returns on their behalf.

Julie was also found guilty of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

The Chrisleys were accused of submitting fraudulent documents to request bank loans, using a production company to hide their income from the IRS and all the while flaunting their lavish lifestyle on television.

The celebrity couple was earning millions from their show and other entertainment ventures, evaded paying Todd’s 2009 delinquent taxes as well as failed to timely file tax returns from 2013 to 2016, prosecutors said.

The prosecutors wrote: “The Chrisleys have built an empire based on the lie that their wealth came from dedication and hard work. The jury’s unanimous verdict sets the record straight: Todd and Julie Chrisley are career swindlers who have made a living by jumping from one fraud scheme to another, lying to banks, stiffing vendors, and evading taxes at every corner.”

Prosecutors had recommended Todd Chrisley be sentenced to 17.5 to nearly 22 years and Julie Chrisley to 10 to 12.5 years, saying that their “arrogance merits special consideration.”

In the prosecutors’ filing for sentencing guidelines, they cited how in 2013 while Todd was in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, the Chrisleys filmed a promotional video about their “extravagant lifestyle.” In the video, Todd boasted that he makes millions of dollars a year and bragged that, “in a year, we probably spend over $300,000, sometimes more, just on clothing,” NBC reported.

Prosecutors argued that “their criminal conduct was driven by greed, not necessity.”

But lawyers for the Chrisleys disputed the prosecutors’ sentencing guidelines, arguing that the “government has vastly overstated the amounts of loss, restitution and forfeiture.” They claimed that neither of the Chrisleys “purposely sought to inflict the harm upon the banks” and Todd Chrisley intended to repay the bank loans.

Todd Chrisley’s lawyer wrote in court filings that the government failed to produce evidence that he meant to defraud the banks, the loss amount put forth by the government was incorrect and urged for a prison sentence below the guideline range.

Meanwhile, Julie Chrisley’s lawyers claimed she had a minimal role in the conspiracy and asked she receive a sentence of probation, restitution and community service, NBC quoted the Associated Press as reporting.


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