Todd and Julie Chrisley’s legal drama has been tumultuous, complex and hotly contested.
The “Chrisley Knows Best” stars were indicted in 2019, and more than two years later, following a three-week trial, both were convicted on federal tax evasion and fraud charges.
On Nov. 21, 2022 — after several sentencing delays — both Todd and Julie were sentenced by a federal judge to spend several years behind bars.
ET is taking a look back at the couple’s legal woes, what they were charged with, and how they’ve handled their conviction.
Aug. 12, 2019 — Grand Jury
Todd and Julie were indicted by a grand jury for charges of tax evasion. Court documents obtained by ET showed that Todd and his wife were indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion. Their accountant, Peter Tarantino, was also indicted on tax-related offenses.
Todd immediately went on the defensive, denying the charges and claiming they were set up by a disgruntled former employee.
Todd took to Instagram to claim that the former employee set out to convince the U.S. Attorney’s office that the Chrisleys were responsible for committing financial crimes. Todd said he and his wife had “nothing to hide.”
“Not only do we know we’ve done nothing wrong, but we’ve got a ton of hard evidence and a bunch of corroborating witnesses that proves it,” Todd argued at the time.
Aug. 14, 2019 — Entering Their Pleas
Todd and Julie appeared in court in Atlanta on Aug. 14, and entered a plea of not guilty. During the court hearing, the reality TV stars were granted a $100,000 unsecured bond. Todd and Julie were not in handcuffs in the courtroom during the hearing.
Todd and Julie were ordered to turn in their passports, effective immediately, and the couple’s travel was restricted to middle Tennessee and North Georgia districts. Furthermore, the couple was ordered to give notice to their probation officers if they need to travel to California to tape their reality TV show.
Todd told local Atlanta news station WSB-TV, “We stand in our faith, and we stand in what we know is right. We are fortunate to have the counsel that we have, and our family will stick together, and we’ll walk this road because we know that the good Lord will hold our hand and take us through.”
Oct. 8, 2019 — Cleared on Some Charges
Todd and Julie were cleared of their state tax evasion charge. The Georgia Department of Revenue officially exonerated the couple of the $2 million claim related to their state taxes between 2008 and 2016.
The state conceded that the Chrisleys actually overpaid their taxes for some years. The couple ended up having a net liability of less than $77,000 in overdue taxes for just one year of incorrect filing. The Department of Revenue concluded that the Chrisleys owed no taxes for 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and were due refunds for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The only year they owed money for was 2009, which has since been paid by the family.
The couple stilled faced federal charges for allegedly evading federal taxes in the same years.
Oct. 15, 2019 — The Chrisleys Sue
The Chrisleys filed a lawsuit against the director of the Georgia Department of Revenue’s Office of Special Investigations, alleging that he abused his power as part of an effort to prosecute “bogus tax evasion claims” against them.
The pair claimed in the lawsuit that director Joshua Waites specifically targeted their estranged daughter, Lindsie, in an effort to “induce her to reveal compromising information about her family,” and to gain media attention for himself. The Chrisleys claim that Waites pursued “an increasingly aggressive relationship with Lindsie,” and improperly shared their confidential tax and grand jury information that he had learned through his position with the Department of Revenue to gain her trust and to intimidate her into cooperation.
Lindsie’s lawyer told ET in a statement that her client was not the source of information that led to her parents being indicted, and denied the allegations of any such relationship.
Aug. 9, 2021 — Opening Up to ET
ET exclusively spoke with the “Chrisley Knows Best” stars in Nashville, and they claimed that they wouldn’t be in the situation they were in if not for their reality show and level of fame.
“I wouldn’t think so, because then nobody would care who we are,” Todd explained.
“People ask me all the time, ‘What’s the best and worst part about having the show and TV and all this?'” added Julie. “And I said, ‘Well, imagine every day of your life, going to work with your spouse, with your adult children, with your minor children, and with your mother-in-law. … This is a job, but at the end of the day, all the BS has to go away and this is our family.”
May 17, 2022 — The Trial Begins
The long-awaited federal trial kicked off, and in opening arguments, the government alleged that the pair exaggerated their earnings to banks to borrow more than $30 million.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Annalise Peters argued in court, “They made up documents and they lie through their teeth to get whatever they want, whenever they want it,” per Us Weekly.
The Chrisleys’ lawyer alleged in response that a disgruntled former employee was to blame for the fraud, and they were not responsible.
June 7, 2022 — Found Guilty
After a nearly three-week-long trial, Todd and Julie were found guilty in their tax fraud trial. The pair was convicted on all counts in a federal court in Georgia.
Todd was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax fraud. Julie was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, tax fraud and wire fraud.
The convictions could potentially land the pair in prison for 30 years.
June 8, 2022 — Homeward Bound
After being found guilty in their tax fraud trial, Todd and Julie’s bond conditions changed to include house confinement and electronic monitoring, meaning the pair was under house arrest until their sentencing.
According to the couple’s bond condition form, obtained by ET, Todd and Julie were both restricted to their residence at all times except for employment, education, religious service, health treatment, attorney visits, court appearances, court-ordered obligations, or other activities as pre-approved by the Court or probation officer.
Per the bond condition form, the couple must pay all or part of the costs of the Location Monitoring Program based upon their ability to pay as determined by the probation officer. Additionally, the couple was ordered to inform probation of any spending over $1,000.
Sentencing was originally set for Oct. 6, but later postponed.
August 2022 — A New Motion
Todd and Julie filed a motion for a new trial and acquittal in August, claiming that their initial trial was “fundamentally unfair.”
In that legal filing, Todd and Julie claimed that an IRS Revenue officer “lied” in her testimony about the Chrisleys owing taxes “when she knew no taxes were due.”
They claimed that those statements had the effect of “falsely painting the Chrisleys as untruthful, likely to commit other forms of fraud, and evading the tax payments alleged in the indictment.”
They also accused the court of admitting “substantial volumes of evidence at trial which were obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment,” citing financial documents they say were “unlawfully seized” by Georgia’s Department of Revenue and initially suppressed by the court. The filing goes on to accuse the court of failing to “properly enforce its suppression order” by allowing some of said documentation to be admitted into evidence.
Sept. 14, 2022 — Sentencing Delayed
In response to the motion for a new trial, Todd and Julie’s sentencing date was pushed back from Oct. 6 to Nov. 21.
Oct. 28, 2022 — Motion Denied
The pair’s joint motion for a new trial was denied by a federal judge, and their sentencing date of Nov. 21 was upheld.
Nov. 21, 2022 — Sentencing Passed
After previously having the hearing delayed, a federal judge sentenced Todd and Julie to spend time behind bars in federal prison on Nov. 21. Todd was sentenced to 12 years in prison, as well as 16 months probation, while Julie was sentenced to seven years in prison, plus 16 months probation. Meanwhile, their accountant, Peter Tarantino — who was also convicted — was previously sentenced to three years in prison.
According to Deadline, this also spelled the end for the family’s two unscripted reality docu-series, “Chrisley Knows Best” and “Growing Up Chrisley”. Both shows were reportedly canceled due to the conviction.
Nov. 22, 2022 — Sentencing Explained
After the couple’s sentencing, Judge Rachel Juarez, who was not involved in the case and is not connected to the pair, told ET that the Chrisleys’ multi-year sentence fell along the lines of what most legal experts expected.
“These were very serious crimes,” Juarez said. “The fraud was extensive, and there was really no remorse being shown by either Todd or Julie. They stuck by their actions. They didn’t express any remorse or accept any sense of responsibility. I think unwillingness to show responsibility absolutely played into the sentence.”
“They were not harshly punished beyond what would be within the guideline or even below guideline, taking into account other factors like their age, risk of security and criminal history,” she added. “… The fact that the Chrisleys were [flaunting their wealth], putting it out there for the country — that they were spending, living a lavish lifestyle — made it really important to show America and show the public that these actions have consequences, so that others watching might think twice about committing tax fraud, committing bank fraud, lying about their financials themselves.”
Nov. 22, 2022 — Life in Prison
Juarez additionally told ET about what the couple can expect when they report to serve their sentences, which for Todd will likely be at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Pensacola in Florida, and for Julie will be at FMC Lexington in Kentucky.
FCI Pensacola, Juarez said, “has made a lot of lists as one of the easier places to do time in a federal system.” Buffalo News described the minimum-security prison as “laid-back” and basically like “camp,” adding that there’s a stocked library, gym, track and movie nights.
Even with all of that taken in account, Juarez noted, “No prisons are easy.”
Nov. 23, 2022 — What’s Next for the Minor Chrisley Children
In a podcast episode recorded prior to Todd and Julie’s sentencing but released after the fact, the Chrisleys’ daughter, Savannah, revealed that she was planning to take custody of her siblings Grayson, 16, and Chloe, 10. Chloe is Savannah’s biological niece, but was adopted by and was being raised in Todd and Julie’s household.
“I never had to worry about where my parents were, if they were gonna show up,” Savannah said on “Unlocked With Savannah Chrisley”. “I think that’s the hard part, I think there’s a level of guilt too for myself, knowing that Chloe and Grayson aren’t going to have that same feeling, of, ‘Are Mom and Dad going to be home tonight?'”
“I have to be a positive role model for Chloe and Grayson,” she added. “No matter how hard it gets, I have to show up.”
Nov. 23, 2022 — Todd and Julie Speak Out
On an episode of Todd and Julie’s “Chrisley Confessions” podcast, which was recorded prior to their sentencing but released after the fact, the couple spoke about their impending time in prison.
Julie called the situation a “nightmare,” but noted that she’s “grateful that [her and Todd’s] relationship has grown instead of falling apart” during the challenging time.
Todd and Julie went on to explain that despite their legal circumstances, they are taking the lessons that God is giving them by “stripping them down” and “reminding them where they came from.”
Nov. 28, 2022 – Chase Chrisley Breaks His Silence
The Chrisleys’ 26-year-old son, Chase, took to his Instagram Story to seemingly react to his parents’ sentencing news by reposting a viral tale with a poignant lesson.
“A good friend of mine unexpectedly lost his wife. A couple months later, we were golfing together, chatting about nothing. He asked what my dinner plans were and I told him wifey wanted my homemade chili and cornbread, but I didn’t feel like stopping at the store,” the post read. “We golfed a few more minutes when he quietly said, ‘Make the chili.'”
“It took me a few minutes to realize we were no longer talking about dinner,” the post continued. “It was about going out of your way to do something for someone you love because at any moment, they could unexpectedly be taken from you.”
“So today I’m sharing with you that wisdom handed to me by my dear friend, that I’ve thought of so many times since that day,” the post concluded. “Next time someone you love wants you to go for a walk or watch a football game or play a board game or just put your phone down and give them your undivided attention, just do it. ‘Make the chili.'”
Nov. 30, 2022 — Living Every Days Like It’s Their Last
On yet another episode of Todd and Julie’s “Chrisley Confessions” podcast — which, like the previous episode, was recorded prior to their sentencing — Julie said the couple is living “every day as if it’s our last.”
“Yesterday doesn’t matter. Today is what we have. Tomorrow belongs to God, because we’re not promised tomorrow,” Todd shared.
As they move through this difficult time in their lives, Julie said she tries to approach every tough moment with the idea that her children are watching. Todd noted that both he and Julie have tried to be good examples for their children though he admits they have “fallen short” at times.
They also reflected on the importance of staying positive in the face of challenges and setbacks.
“You have to live above your circumstances, you have to know that your circumstances are not forever, that they will eventually change and you’re going to come out the other side, and that you’re going to be given the strength you need to get through it,” Julie shared. “But that’s sometimes hard to accept, I think, when you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“There are dark days, we all have dark days,” Todd chimed in, “and we can choose to sit and wallow in it, or we can get up.”
Check out the video below for more on the family’s intense legal drama.
Dec. 15, 2022 — Ordered to Report
Todd and Julie were ordered to begin serving their respective prison sentences at separate facilities.
According to docs obtained by ET, the couple were ordered to report to two different federal prisons by 12 p.m. on Jan. 17. Todd will be serving his time at Federal Prison Camp Pensacola, while Julie will be at FMC Lexington in Kentucky. Both will be placed under minimum security in their respective facilities.
Dec. 20, 2022 — Julie Re-designated to Lexington
Per court docs obtained by ET, Julie was re-designated to Federal Medical Center Lexington in Lexington, Kentucky on Dec. 20. Both Todd and Julie will be placed under minimum security in their respective facilities.
FMC Lexington is for both male and female inmates requiring medical or mental health care.
Jan. 5. 2023 — Speaking on Separation
In a January episode of the family’s “Chrisley Confessions” podcast, Julie opened up about what life is going to be like for her being separated from her husband for the first time.
“There is that possibility of my husband and I being separated, but there’s a difference between my husband and I being separated for a period of time and having to say goodbye forever,” Julie said as she became emotional while alluding to her and Todd’s time away in jail.
Julie also mentioned the moments with her children — that she once took for granted — that she will miss when she’s away.
“It’s like Grayson asking me to make him something, or Chloe asking for an ice cream cone,” she said about her 16-year-old son and 10-year-old granddaughter. “Something as simple as that. But the idea of me not being able to do that breaks my heart. So, I’m like, ‘Sure, I’ll make you an ice cream cone,’ and unfortunately, we have to hit those places sometimes before we realize all the blessings that we have.”
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