Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley to be sentenced

ATLANTA (AP) — Todd and Julie Chrisley were driven by greed when they became involved in an extensive bank fraud scheme and then hid their wealth from tax authorities while flaunting their lavish lifestyle, federal prosecutors said, arguing that reality stars should receive lengthy prison sentences. .

The Chrisleys gained fame with their show “Chrisley Knows Best,” which follows their rambunctious and close-knit family. They were convicted on federal charges in June and will be sentenced by US District Judge Eleanor Ross in a hearing that begins Monday and likely runs through Tuesday.

Using a process to calculate a range of sentencing guidelines based on various factors, federal prosecutors determined that the high end of that range is nearly 22 years for Todd Chrisley and about 12 1/2 years for Julie Chrisley. The couple must also be ordered to pay restitution, prosecutors wrote in a court filing.

“The Chrisleys have built an empire based on the lie that their wealth comes from dedication and hard work,” prosecutors wrote. “The jury’s unanimous verdict sets the record straight: Todd and Julie Chrisley are professional con artists who have made their living jumping from one fraud scheme to another, lying to banks, ripping off sellers and evading taxes at every turn.”

The Chrisleys disagree with the calculations in the government guidelines. Todd Chrisley’s lawyers wrote in a document that he should face no more than nine years in prison and that the judge should sentence him below the lower limit of the guidelines. Julie Chrisley’s lawyers wrote that 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 conspiracy to defraud the IRS. Julie Chrisley was also convicted of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

Peter Tarantino, an accountant hired by the couple, was found guilty of conspiring to defraud the IRS and knowingly filing false tax returns. He is scheduled to be sentenced along with the Chrisleys.

Prosecutors have said the couple sent false 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 filed for bankruptcy. While in bankruptcy, they started their reality show and “bragged about their wealth and lifestyle to the American public,” prosecutors wrote. When they started making millions from their program, they hid the money from the IRS to avoid paying taxes.

The Chrisleys presented a false document to a grand jury investigating their crimes and then convinced friends and family members to lie while testifying under oath during the trial, prosecutors wrote. None of them have shown any remorse and have instead blamed others for their own criminal conduct, prosecutors wrote.

“The Chrisleys are unique given the varied and broad scope of their fraudulent conduct and the extent to which they engaged in fraud and obstructive behavior over an extended period of time,” prosecutors wrote.

Todd Chrisley’s lawyers wrote in a court filing that the government never presented any evidence that it intended to defraud any of the banks and that the amount of the loss calculated by the government is incorrect. They also pointed out that the crimes for which he was convicted were committed a long time ago. He has no serious criminal record and has medical conditions that “would make imprisonment disproportionately harsh,” they wrote.

His lawyers presented letters from friends and business associates that show “a record of good deeds and efforts to help others.” People who trust Chrisley, including her mother and the “dozens of people” employed on her television shows, will be harmed while she is in prison, her lawyers wrote.

They urged the judge to give him a prison sentence below the guideline range followed by supervised release and restitution.

Julie Chrisley’s lawyers wrote in a filing that she had a minimal role in the conspiracy and was not involved when the loans discussed in the sentencing documents were obtained. She has no prior convictions, she is an asset to her community, and she has “extraordinary family obligations,” her attorneys wrote, while seeking a sentence of probation, restitution and community service.

The Chrisleys have three children together, including a 16-year-old, and also have full custody of Todd Chrisley’s son Todd Chrisley’s 10-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. Julie Chrisley is the primary caregiver for his sick mother-in-law, the filing says. Her lawyers presented letters from family and friends that show she is “hard-working, unfailingly selfless, dedicated to her family and friends, highly respected by all who know her, and strong-willed.”

If the judge sentences both Chrisleys to prison, lawyers for Julie Chrisley have asked that her prison terms be staggered so that she can remain on supervised release until her husband finishes serving his sentence or until her granddaughter turns 18.

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