ATLANTA — Reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley were sentenced Monday to lengthy prison terms after being convicted earlier this year on charges including bank fraud and tax evasion.
U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross in Atlanta gave Todd Chrisley 12 years in prison plus 16 months of probation, while Julie Chrisley got seven years behind bars and 16 months of probation, news outlets reported.
The Chrisleys gained fame with their show “Chrisley Knows Best,” which follows their tight-knit, boisterous family. Federal prosecutors said the couple engaged in an extensive bank fraud scheme and then hid their wealth from tax authorities while flaunting their lavish lifestyle.
“The Chrisleys have built an empire based on the lie that their wealth came from dedication and hard work,” prosecutors wrote. “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.”
Julie Chrisley’s Lawyers Asked for Probation
Todd Chrisley’s attorneys had argued in a court filing that he should not face more than nine years in prison. Julie Chrisley’s lawyers said a reasonable sentence for her would be probation with special conditions and no prison time.
The Chrisleys were convicted in June on charges of bank fraud, tax evasion and conspiring to defraud the IRS. Julie Chrisley was also convicted of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
Prosecutors have said the couple submitted fake documents to banks and managed to secure more than $30 million in fraudulent loans. Once that scheme fell apart, they walked away from their responsibility to repay the loans when Todd Chrisley declared bankruptcy. While in bankruptcy, they started their reality show and “flaunted their wealth and lifestyle to the American public,” prosecutors wrote, and then hid the millions they made from the show from the IRS.
Submitted False Document to Grand Jury
The Chrisleys also submitted a false document to a grand jury that was investigating their crimes and then convinced friends and family members to lie under oath during their trial, prosecutors argued. Neither has shown any remorse and they have, instead, blamed others for their criminal conduct, prosecutors wrote.
“The Chrisleys are unique given the varied and wide-ranging scope of their fraudulent conduct and the extent to which they engaged in fraud and obstructive behavior for a prolonged period of time,” prosecutors said.
Todd Chrisley’s lawyers said in a filing that the government never produced any evidence that he meant to defraud the banks, and that the loss amount calculated was incorrect. They also noted that the offenses were committed a long time ago and said he has no serious criminal history and has medical conditions that “would make imprisonment disproportionately harsh.”
His lawyers had also submitted letters from friends and business associates that show “a history of good deeds and striving to help others.” People who rely on Chrisley — including his mother and the many people employed by his television shows — will be harmed while he’s in prison, they argued.