Reality TV stars found guilty of fraud and tax evasion | USAO-NDGA
ATLANTA, Ga. — Following a three-week trial, a federal jury found Todd and Julie Chrisley guilty of conspiring to defraud community banks out of more than $30 million in fraudulent loans. The jury also convicted Todd and Julie Chrisley and their accountant, Peter Tarantino, of a number of tax crimes, including conspiracy to defraud the IRS. The Chrisleys were found guilty of tax evasion and Peter Tarantino was found guilty of filing two false tax returns on behalf of the Chrisleys’ company. The jury also found Julie Chrisley guilty of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
“The jury found that Todd and Julie Chrisley engaged in multiple fraud schemes over several years and that their accountant, Peter Tarantino, filed false corporate tax returns on their behalf,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “This office and our partner agencies will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute white-collar criminals who flout the law.”
“As today’s result shows, when you lie, cheat and steal, justice is blind to your fame, fortune and position,” said FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley. “Ultimately, driven by greed, the verdict of guilty on all counts for these three defendants proves once again that financial crimes don’t pay.”
“Todd Chrisley, Julie Chrisley and their accountant, Peter Tarantino, conspired to evade the assessment and payment of the Chrisleys’ income taxes. The Chrisleys and Tarantinos knew the law was clear on taxable income and who is required to file and pay taxes,” said James E. Dorsey, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “These convictions should send a clear message that no matter how famous or notorious you are, everyone will be held accountable to pay their fair share of taxes.”
According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented to the court: Before Todd and Julie Chrisley became reality TV stars, they conspired to defraud community banks in the Atlanta area to get more $30 million in personal loans. The Chrisleys, with the help of their former business partner, submitted fake bank statements, audit reports and personal financial statements to the banks to obtain the millions of dollars in fraudulent loans. The Chrisleys then spent the money buying luxury cars, designer clothes, real estate and travel – and used new fraudulent loans to pay off old ones. After spending all the money, Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy and forfeited more than $20 million in fraudulently obtained loans.
Evidence further showed that in 2014, while Todd Chrisley was in bankruptcy proceedings, Julie Chrisley again fabricated financial documents and lied to real estate agents to secure a luxury rental home in Los Angeles, California. . As soon as the Chrisleys started renting the house, they failed to pay the rent and the landlord sued for eviction.
Around the time Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy, the Chrisleys became stars of their own reality show, which was taped in Atlanta and later Nashville. Evidence at trial showed that while making millions from their TV show, Todd and Julie Chrisley, along with their accountant, Peter Tarantino, conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.
Throughout the plot, the Chrisleys operated a loan company that received revenue from their show and other entertainment ventures. To evade collection of half a million dollars in outstanding taxes owed by Todd Chrisley, the Chrisleys opened and maintained the company’s bank accounts solely in Julie Chrisley’s name. A day after the IRS requested bank account information in Julie Chrisley’s name, the Chrisleys transferred ownership of the company’s bank account to Todd Chrisley’s mother in an effort to further hide his earnings from the public. ‘IRS. All the while, Todd Chrisley ran the loan company behind the scenes and controlled the company’s purse strings.
As the Chrisleys earned millions and avoided paying Todd Chrisley’s overdue back taxes, they also failed to file tax returns or pay taxes for the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 tax years. At one point, Todd Chrisley falsely claimed on a radio show that he paid $750,000 to $1 million in federal income tax each year, even though he hadn’t filed or paid his tax returns for years. Tarantino was also found guilty of filing two false tax returns for the loan company, which falsely claimed the company made no money and made no distributions in 2015 and 2016.
Finally, Julie Chrisley was found guilty of obstruction of justice. After learning of the grand jury investigation, she submitted a fraudulent document in response to a grand jury subpoena to make it appear that the Chrisleys had not lied to the bank when they transferred ownership of the Todd Chrisley’s mother’s loan company bank account. Julie Chrisley forwarded this document in an attempt to obstruct the grand jury’s investigation of her and her husband and avoid prosecution.
Sentencing for Todd and Julie Chrisley and Peter Tarantino is scheduled for Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 9:30 a.m.
This matter is being investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas J. Krepp and Annalize K. Peters are prosecuting the case.
For more information, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Public Affairs at [email protected] or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.