On Tuesday, November 22, 2022, reality television stars Todd and Julie Chrisley were sentenced to a combined 19 years in prison for both bank fraud and tax evasion. The ruling comes after the couple was indicted in August 2019 with a new indictment that was filed in February of this year. AP News reports that the jury found the Chrisleys guilty back in June of this year of conspiring to defraud community banks out of more than $30 million in fraudulent loans as well as conspiring to defraud the IRS and tax evasion. In addition, Julie Chrisley was convicted of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
Prosecutors argued that the Chrisleys submitted fake documents when applying for bank loans and that Julie submitted false credit reports and bank statements to rent a home for the family in California. An accountant for the couple, Peter Tarantino was also found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States and willfully filing false tax returns. The presiding judge over the case, Eleanor L. Ross issued the sentencing, giving Todd Chrisley 12 years in prison with three years of supervised release and Julie Chrisley 7 years in prison, also with three years of supervised release. Peter Tarantino was sentenced to three years in prison with three years of supervised release.
Alex Little, the family’s attorney gave this statement to CNN about the ruling, “Yesterday was a difficult day for the Chrisley family. But Todd and Julie are people of faith, and that faith gives them strength as they appeal their convictions.”
Todd and Julie share three children, Chase, 26, Savannah, 25, and Grayson, 16. Todd has two older children from a previous marriage with ex-wife Teresa Terry, Lindsie, 33, and Kyle, 31. Due to his battles with substance abuse, Todd and Julie have custody of Kyle’s daughter Chloe, 10, and are also grandparents to Lindsie’s son, Jackson.
Savannah Chrisley shared in her podcast, “Unlocked,” that she will have custody of both Grayson and Chloe (actual custody agreements have not yet been disclosed), saying, “I come home Tuesday, and I have custody of a 16-year-old and a 10-year-old, and we spend our first Thanksgiving not as a family. I’m trying to navigate how you teach two younger children who aren’t fully developed yet and … get them to understand the circumstances. That’s a really, really difficult thing.” As it pertains to her family and what happens now due to the sentencing, she shares this, “I don’t know what my family’s fate is. I know that the short-term is going to be really painful and really difficult.”
Abron’s Hot Take
I used to watch the Chrisley Knows Best reality show during the early seasons. I found the family intriguing and Todd specifically, to be very entertaining. Of course, as with most reality tv shows and personalities, I didn’t take the show seriously and always felt that the Chrisley family overexaggerated their wealth – because – no one looks at reality tv to watch regular people living their lives. We tune in for the drama and opulence to escape our own lives. But the harsh reality of it all is that reality tv is very rarely real.
The word that comes to mind is “storyline.” Meaning, some of your favorite personalities that have dominated the popular form of entertainment are oftentimes acting out a contrived series of events in order to entertain the viewers and their fans. It’s also a way to “secure their spot” for future seasons of their respective show so they remain a regular presence. The sometimes made-up drama has proven quite addictive and even the most sophisticated individuals find themselves tuning in each week to see which housewife is fighting with whom. Or in the case of the Chrisleys, what wild or crazy southern idioms will Todd dole out to his family?
Turns out my suspicions - albeit quiet - were pretty spot on as it pertains to the wealth of the Chrisley family. However, I never would’ve imagined that fraud would be involved, nor did I ever foresee prison sentences for the patriarch and matriarch of the family (talk about setting an example for your children). We all know by now or at least we should know that you don’t mess with the government. If anyone is going to get back their stolen money or ensure you pay the price for acquiring it illegally, it’s the IRS! You have to be pretty bold and narcissistic to think you could commit a crime of this caliber and not face the consequences. As the saying goes, you do the crime, you do the time as is such for Todd for Julie.
I do remember hearing speculations years ago that the Chrisleys weren’t as wealthy as they portrayed themselves to be on their reality show so their need to lie, defraud banks, and acquire millions of dollars in loans to fund their lavish lifestyle of luxury cars, designer clothes, real estate, and travel makes sense for people like them. Keeping up with the Joneses is a very real thing. What will become of the Chrisley family is yet to be determined as that story is still being written. However, from what I’ve seen with reality stars and their past experiences with legal troubles, Todd and Julie will most likely bounce back with a redemption show. But will the public care enough by that time is the million or better yet, the $30 million dollar question?
After nine seasons of telling audiences what’s best, it appears the Chrisleys don’t know what’s best after all.
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