Todd Chrisley was sentenced to 12 years in prison on a fraud conviction after an emotional plea to the court
- Todd Chrisley was sentenced to 12 years in prison. His wife, Julie Chrisley, was sentenced to seven.
- The reality-TV couple were convicted in June of running a yearslong fraud scheme.
The reality-TV couple Todd and Julie Chrisley on Monday were sentenced in Atlanta federal court on fraud convictions, with Todd Chrisley receiving 12 years and his wife, Julie Chrisley, receiving a sentence of 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 as if they were wealthier than they were. 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.
Peter Tarantino, the couple's accountant, was also sentenced Monday to 36 months in prison for his role in committing fraud on his clients' behalf.
During the emotional sentencing hearing on Monday, Assistant US Attorney Annalise Peters showed footage of the Chrisleys bragging about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on clothes, from their 30,000-square-foot home, while avoiding taxes and in the middle of bankruptcy.
"Of course there is nothing bad about being rich. There is nothing wrong about making lots of money," Peters said. "It's the American dream."
But also essential to being American, she said, is paying taxes.
Both Chrisleys addressed the court asking for leniency on Monday. Todd Chrisley, choking up, said in his statement that his wife was the caregiver for their children Grayson and Chloe.
"My wife, Julie, should not be punished" to the same scale, he said.
Julie Chrisley sobbed as she told the court she was most concerned for her children.
"To hear your 10-year-old say she doesn't want to live if their mom goes away, no child should feel that way," she said of Chloe, her adopted daughter, as the courtroom filled with audible emotion.
US District Judge Eleanor Ross allowed both Chrisleys to surrender themselves to custody. Ross said that in most of the cases before her there were children left behind upon their parents' sentencing.
"It is heartbreaking, but it has to be burdened by the defendants," Ross said.
"I've never heard any acceptance of any crime," she added. "I've never really heard any admission to any wrongdoing or any remorse," Ross told the Chrisleys.
"I have no reason to doubt that both Chrisleys have good hearts," she said, adding that she "cannot ignore the greed and flamboyance in this case."
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's mother, Faye Chrisley, who has bladder cancer, and other relatives.
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.
The fraud came to light when the couple's former business partner Mark Braddock, who was also participating in the scheme, informed tax officers and later prosecutors about the years of crime.
Braddock was offered immunity for his testimony.
The former part-owner of Todd Chrisley's management company also told the jury that he had an intimate relationship with Todd Chrisley for about a year. He said they later became like brothers and he committed fraud on behalf of the Chrisleys and also for his own benefit.
Throughout the trial, Todd Chrisley's lawyer, Bruce Morris, called Braddock a criminal who was "obsessed" with Todd Chrisley and vengeful when he ended their business relationship. In closing arguments, Morris called the alleged affair pure "fantasy."
The Atlanta courtroom was full during the sentencing hearing on Monday.
Correction: November 22, 2022 — An earlier version of this story misstated Peter Tarantino's relationship to Todd and Julie Chrisley. He's their accountant, not their attorney.
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