It turns out the Chrisleys should have known better.
Todd and Julie Chrisley, stars of the reality TV show, “Chrisley Knows Best,” were sentenced in an Atlanta court today to multiple years in prison for defrauding banks out of $30 million and committing tax fraud.
The sentence marks the final chapter in the spectacular fall of the reality star couple who once headlined USA Network’s top-rated original series.
Their show, which revolves around the lives of a Georgia real estate tycoon and his wealthy family, was so popular that USA was planning a spinoff series, and E! was also set to launch a series with them.
But the only series the Chrisleys will be participating in now is consecutive years in prison. A federal judge sentenced Todd Chrisley to 12 years plus 16 months probation. His wife, Julie, received seven years in prison plus 16 months probation.
Last June, a jury found the couple guilty of criminal bank fraud and tax evasion. Prosecutors said the Chrisleys falsified documents to obtain $30 million in bank loans that they used to fund their lavish lifestyle. When he couldn’t pay back the loans, Todd Chrisley declared bankruptcy.
During this bankruptcy, the couple started their reality show in 2014 and “flaunted their wealth and lifestyle to the American public,” prosecutors said. They also used a film production company to hide millions of dollars from the IRS they earned from the show.
Calling their actions a “15-year fraud spree,” prosecutors wrote after the trial: “The Chrisleys have built an empire based on the lie that their wealth came from dedication and hard work. 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.”
To this day, the Chrisleys say they did nothing wrong as someone else had control of their finances.
Todd Chrisley’s lawyers asked the judge to give their client a reduced prison sentence, noting that he had no serious criminal history and has medical conditions that “would make imprisonment disproportionately harsh.”
They also submitted letters from friends and business associates that show “a history of good deeds and striving to help others.”
Julie Chrisley’s lawyers argued that she had a minimal role in the scheme and that she is the primary caregiver to her ailing mother-in-law. Her lawyers submitted letters from family and friends saying she is “hard-working, unfailingly selfless, devoted to her family and friend, highly respected by all who know her, and strong of character.”
But the judge was unmoved, sentencing them within the guideline range.