Chrisley Knows Best Stars Go On Trial For Bank Fraud And Tax Evasion, And The Prosecution Came Out Of The Gate Swinging

Todd and Julie Chrisley, the stars of USA Network’s reality show Chrisley Knows Best, have officially been put on trial for bank fraud and tax evasion. Court proceedings began this week in Atlanta, and the prosecution is pulling none of its punches. 

The arraignment of Todd and Julie Chrisley began last Tuesday. According to Insider, the prosecution team wasted no time in getting down to business. In her opening statement to the jury, Assistant US Attorney Annalise Peters said: 

They [The Chrisleys] made up documents and they lie through their teeth to get whatever they want whenever they want it.

The stars, whose reality program Chrisley Knows Best shot them to national fame after its debut in 2014, have been experiencing legal issues for a few years now. Their opulent lifestyle, frequently on display in their TV show, was allegedly funded by bank loans obtained under dishonest circumstances. Annalise Peters claimed that the couple provided banks with falsified documents in order to present a fictitious view of their finances. The prosecution is attesting that the Chrisleys used these documents to acquire over $30 million in loans, which they “burned on luxury items.” 

Annalise Peters presented a narrative that reportedly found the pair “scrapbooking,” a forgery technique in which they cut and pasted sections of various documents to exaggerate their financial holdings. When they could no longer pay their old loans, they purportedly secured new ones to continue paying off the past borrowings. Peters also accused the couple of hiding money earned from their reality show in a side company helmed by Julie Chrisley. 

Julie Chrisley is also accused of wire fraud and obstruction of justice, as she allegedly avoided paying rent on an expensive property in California. In the ensuing federal investigation, she is said to have "manipulated" multiple documents given to law enforcement. In addition to the Chrisleys themselves, their accountant, Peter Tarantino, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the American government and for willfully filing false tax returns. 

Todd and Julie Chrisley have refuted the claims levied against them. Their attorney Bruce H. Morris placed the onus on of the clan's former employees, Matt Braddock. Morris claims that Braddock conducted all of the alleged fraudulent activity while posing as Todd. He also claimed that Braddock turned the reality TV couple into the FBI after they terminated his employment back in 2012. Todd later declared bankruptcy that same year. The FBI began investigating the family for fraud and tax evasion in 2017, and Insider reported that they were first indicted in 2019. 

The trial comes on the heels of a Season 10 renewal for Chrisley Knows Best, as well as another season order for spin-off Growing Up Chrisley. Variety also reported that Todd Chrisley is on tap to host Love Limo, a new reality dating show. There’s been no word on whether the trial will affect their television slate. 

While the prosecution came out swinging, the ongoing trial is on track to last for at least four weeks. Further updates should arrive as thing progress. In the meantime, you can check out CinemaBlend's 2022 TV schedule or stream past episodes of Chrisley Knows Best on Peacock Premium subscription

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.