The stars of the series Chrisley Knows BestTodd and Julie Chrisley began a trial in Atlanta yesterday to see whether they’re guilty of charges of bank fraud and tax evasion. Prosecutors say the two lived extravagantly off federal loans they lied to obtain and even submitted fake documents to banks to procure more than $30 million in loans from them.

Todd and Julie are also accused of hiding earnings from the IRS, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Annaleise Peters said in her opening arguments, “They made up documents and they lie through their teeth to get whatever they want, whenever they want it.” The family’s accountant, Peter Tarantino, has also been charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of willfully filing false tax returns.

The Chrisleys have denied all charges, and their attorney Bruce H. Morris claimed that a former employee, Mark Braddock, committed the crimes while impersonating Todd because he “wanted to be” Chrisley. Braddock turned the Chrisleys into the FBI and admitted to committing instances of fraud, but the prosecution says the couple’s interest in fraud did not dissipate once Braddock was fired.

Julie has also been hit with a charge for wire fraud and obstruction of justice related to her inflating her income in order to obtain a lease on a California home, reportedly not paying the rent, and then manipulating documents while they were being investigated.

The pair also had more schemes that they developed with Braddock, including the plot to develop false documents to obtain loans from small local banks, which is a scam called “scrapbooking” because it involves piecing different parts of documents together. One statement for an account attached to Todd Chrisley appeared to show $4 million when in reality he likely never had more than $20,000 in it at the time.

Todd and Julie’s tax accusations come into play when Chrisley Knows Best began airing in 2013. They allegedly received $6 million in total payments for their appearances on the show through 2016 and attempted to hide it from being taxed by depositing their paychecks into a side company called 7C’s Production. Julie was the President of the company, but ownership was suddenly shifted to Todd Chrisley’s mother immediately after it was revealed they were being investigated.

This trial will last approximately four weeks, and witnesses called by the prosecution in the past days have included an IRS investigator, a talent manager who had dealings with the Chrisley family, and a Bank Supervisor from Nashville who has knowledge of Julie Chrisley.


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