ATLANTA (AP) — A federal trial for reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley on charges of bank fraud and tax evasion is set to begin Monday in Atlanta.
The trial begins just days after E! announced it was moving forward with a new dating series, “Love Limo,” hosted by Todd Chrisley and weeks after news broke that reality shows “Chrisley Knows Best” and “Growing Up Chrisley” have renewed on USA Network and E!, respectively.
The Chrisleys were originally charged in August 2019 and a new indictment was filed in February this year. Prosecutors allege the couple submitted false documents to the banks when applying for the loan. Julie Chrisley also submitted a fake credit report and bank statements while trying to rent a home in California, then the couple refused to pay rent months after they started using the home, the indictment alleges. .
The Chrisleys also used a film production company they controlled to hide income to prevent the IRS from collecting unpaid taxes owed by Todd Chrisley, prosecutors say.
The two Chrisleys are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, five counts of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of tax evasion. Julie Chrisley is also charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.
Peter Tarantino, an accountant hired by the Chrisleys, is charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of willfully filing false tax returns. He is about to stand trial alongside the Chrisleys.
The Chrisleys and Tarantino pleaded not guilty to the charges and were released on bail.
U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross said jury selection will take place on Monday and opening statements are due on Tuesday.
“Chrisley Knows Best” follows the close-knit and boisterous Chrisley family. The series has just been renewed by the United States for a 10th season, while the spin-off “Growing Up Chrisley”, starring children Chrisley Chase and Savannah living in Los Angeles, has just been renewed for a fourth season.
The family had moved to Tennessee by the time the indictment was filed, but the criminal charges stem from when they lived in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, prosecutors said.
Even before the initial indictment was announced in August 2019, Todd Chrisley posted a lengthy statement on Instagram denying any wrongdoing. A former employee who was fired after the Chrisleys found out in 2012 that he was stealing from them retaliated by bringing false documents to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and telling prosecutors the Chrisleys committed financial crimes, Chrisley wrote.
Prosecutors said the Chrisleys ordered the former employee to forge documents. The scheme lasted at least from 2007 to 2012 and involved submitting false bank and financial statements to financial institutions to obtain millions of dollars in loans, much of which they used for personal gain, according to the deed. ‘charge. They attempted to hide their involvement by falsely claiming they did not know their then-employee had submitted false documents, according to the indictment.
Julie Chrisley sent a fake credit report and bank statements showing far more money than they had in their accounts to a California landlord in July 2014 when he was trying to rent a house, according to the deed of accusation. A few months after they started using the house, in October 2014, they refused to pay the rent, forcing the landlord to threaten them with eviction.
The money the Chrisleys received from their TV show went to a company they controlled called 7C’s Productions, but they did not report it as income on federal tax returns, prosecutors said. The couple did not file or pay their federal income taxes on time for several years, according to the indictment.
Tarantino helped the Chrisleys hide their income and lie on their tax returns, telling the IRS that Todd Chrisley didn’t have enough money to pay a tax debt from 2009 despite the money coming into their production company that they spent on personal purchases, according to the indictment. He also filed false tax returns for 7C’s Productions to make it look like the company wasn’t making any money, the indictment alleges.
After federal agents served a grand jury subpoena over the productions of 7C in February 2018, Julie Chrisley submitted a fraudulent document, according to the indictment.
Kate Brumback, The Associated Press