Todd and Julie Chrisley made an emotional plea for mercy at their sentencing — but the judge could 'not ignore the greed and flamboyance in this case'
- Reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley were sentenced on fraud convictions Monday.
- In June, the couple was convicted of defrauding banks out of more than $30 million over years.
Reality TV couple Todd and Julie Chrisley were sentenced in Atlanta federal court on fraud convictions on Monday, speaking of their children as they tearfully pleaded for leniency.
On Monday, Todd Chrisley was sentenced to 12 years in prison while his wife Julie Chrisley was sentenced to seven years. The Chrisleys were convicted in June of defrauding banks out of more than $30 million by providing fake financial statements making it look like they were wealthier than they were. After taking in the verdicts, they said they were only thinking of their children, and how they'd go on without them in their lives.
Todd Chrisley choked up when he addressed the court, and asked that they give his wife less prison time.
"As I'm sure you can tell this is an enormously sad day for my family," Todd Chrisley said. "My wife Julie should not be punished" as much as he would be.
However, he continued to double down on his offenses. "I always intended to pay it back," he said Monday.
Julie Chrisley is the caregiver for their two children, Grayson, who is 16, and Chloe, who is 10 years old. Chloe was the couple's granddaughter, whom they adopted from her biological parents.
"I'm most concerned for Chloe and Grayson," Julie Chrisley said through sobs at the sentencing. "To hear your 10-year-old say she doesn't want to live if their mom goes away, no child should feel that way."
Her request to stay in home confinement until Chloe is an adult was ultimately denied.
'A walking crime wave'
Prosecutors proved that the couple used the loans to buy expensive cars, take extravagant trips, and live a lifestyle they couldn't afford, while also hiding money from the IRS to avoid paying taxes. Restitution was assessed at $17 million, with prosecutors noting the figure was conservative. In total, the fraud amounted to $36 million, prosecutors said Monday.
The couple's accountant, Peter Tarantino, was also sentenced Monday to 36 months in prison for his role in committing fraud on his clients' behalf.
"Todd and Julie Chrisley are a walking crime wave," Assistant US Attorney Annalise Peters told the court Monday, saying the couple lie and cheat at every chance.
On TV, the couple plays a boisterous, bubbly, family with deep Christian values. But Peters presented emails to the court where Todd Chrisley called his employee a "stupid fucking Russian bitch" and demanded she give him access to more company money.
In other emails, he told employees to "deal with that bitch" referring to female tax officers, Peters noted.
"Of course there is nothing bad about being rich. There is nothing wrong about making lots of money," she said. "It's the American dream,"
But also essential to being American, she said, is paying taxes.
Both Todd and Julie Chrisley were sentenced below what the federal sentencing guidelines laid out, due to their age, health, and the fact that they care for Todd Chrisley's mother, Faye Chrisley, who has bladder cancer, and other relatives.
A lack of remorse
Peters said sentencing is the part of her job she dislikes most because the children, families, and communities of the defendants tend to suffer. But that burden is on the defendant, and not the judge who hands down the sentence, she argued.
In many cases, the care of minors is left with the foster system. However, in this case, family members and supporters filled rows in the courtroom who could look after their two children, Peters said.
"I've never heard any acceptance of any crime," US District Judge Eleanor Ross said on Monday. "I've never really heard any admission to any wrongdoing or any remorse."
"I have no reason to doubt that both Chrisleys have good hearts," she added. "I can not ignore the greed and flamboyance in this case"
Ross recommended that Julie Chrisley be allowed to serve her sentence at FCI Tallahassee and Todd Chrisley be allowed to serve at FCI Pensacola, as they asked.
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