Recently, a well-known celebrity duo was dealt a significant blow in federal court. Todd and Julie Chrisley, together with their accountant, were found guilty on numerous counts of federal tax evasion and fraud.
Their scheme involved obtaining loans, filing for bankruptcy, and a number of other behaviors that triggered IRS scrutiny. While their lawyers have already signaled that they intend to appeal the verdict, they face an upcoming sentencing hearing that could result in as many as 30 years of prison time for each.
If you want to avoid the fate of the Chrisleys, you may need serious tax law representation right now. That starts when you schedule your first reduced-rate case assessment with the seasoned dual licensed Criminal Tax Defense Lawyers & CPAS at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing. Call today to learn more at (800) 681-1295.
Following a trial that lasted three weeks, Todd and Julie Chrisley, stars of reality TV show Chrisley Knows Best, were each found guilty on all charges by a federal jury. The Chrisleys now each face up to 30 years in prison for fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to defraud community banks out of more than $30 million of fraudulent loans, according to a release from the Northern District of Georgia’s Department of Justice.
Julie was also found guilty of wire fraud and obstruction of justice. Their accountant, Peter Tarantino, was found guilty of multiple tax crimes as well, including conspiring to defraud the IRS and filing two false corporate tax returns on behalf of the Chrisleys’ company.
“As today’s outcome shows, when you lie, cheat and steal, justice is blind as to your fame, your fortune, and your position,” Keri Farley, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement. “In the end, when driven by greed, the verdict of guilty on all counts for these three defendants proves once again that financial crimes do not pay.”
Prior to headlining the USA Network reality show that would make them famous, the Chrisleys “submitted false bank statements, audit reports, and personal financial statements to banks to obtain the millions of dollars in fraudulent loans,” according to U.S. attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. The couple then used the funds to obtain luxury cars, designer clothing, travel, and real estate. The old loans were then allegedly reimbursed through the use of new, fraudulent ones. After spending all the money, Todd Chrisley filed for bankruptcy and, according to prosecutors, walked away from more than $20 million of the fraudulently obtained loans.
In 2014, the same year that their show premiered, Todd filed for bankruptcy, while Julie allegedly falsified financial documents and lied to real estate agents in order to secure their luxury rental home in Los Angeles. When they failed to make rent payments, the owner filed an eviction lawsuit against the Chrisleys.
According to the release from the Northern District of Georgia’s Department of Justice, the Chrisleys spent their years earning millions from their family-centered reality show while evading more than half a million dollars in delinquent taxes owed by Todd. The couple failed to pay taxes or file returns from 2013 to 2016, according to prosecutors.
This isn’t the couple’s first legal trouble. In October 2019, Todd and Julie were cleared of a state tax evasion charge in Georgia. “Julie and I knew all along that we had done nothing wrong and that when the facts all came out, we would be fine,” Todd said in a statement to E! News. However, at the time the statement was made, the Chrisleys still faced federal charges for evading taxes.
In addition to tax evasion and fraud charges, the federal jury also found Julie Chrisley guilty of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
Legal representation for the Chrisleys expressed disappointment in the verdict and revealed that they planned to appeal the decision. Sentencing for Todd, Julie, and Tarantino is slated for October 6. Each charge of federal tax evasion carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines, not to mention restitution.
If a taxpayer believes or is aware that they have existing noncompliance in their past tax returns and other filings, they may be able to make use of the voluntary disclosure process. Voluntary disclosure is an avenue by which noncompliant taxpayers may submit amended returns together with supplemental documentation. The government will ordinarily reward the taxpayer for coming forward voluntarily without having to be audited or criminally investigated for tax crimes by reducing the civil penalties that ordinarily apply and providing a pass on criminal prosecution for tax crimes.
Voluntary disclosure will not cure every issue, and it is important that you assess its effectiveness before taking this path. Voluntarily disclosing information that the government has already discovered will likely provide no benefit to the disclosing party. In any case, you will want to discuss your options with your Criminal Tax Defense Attorney as soon as possible to determine the best path forward.
Note: As long as a taxpayer that has willfully committed tax crimes (potentially including non-filed foreign information returns coupled with affirmative evasion of U.S. income tax on offshore income) self-reports the tax fraud (including a pattern of non-filed returns) through a domestic or offshore voluntary disclosurebefore the IRS has started an audit or criminal tax investigation / prosecution, the taxpayer can ordinarily be successfully brought back into tax compliance and receive a nearly guaranteed pass on criminal tax prosecution and simultaneously often receive a break on the civil penalties that would otherwise apply.
It is imperative that you hire an experienced and reputable criminal tax defense attorney to take you through the voluntary disclosure process. Only an Attorney has the Attorney Client Privilege and Work Product Privileges that will prevent the very professional that you hire from being potentially being forced to become a witness against you, especially where they prepared the returns that need to be amended, in a subsequent criminal tax audit, investigation or prosecution.
Moreover, only an Attorney can enter you into a voluntary disclosure without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (a crime in itself). Only an Attorney trained in Criminal Tax Defense fully understands the risks and rewards involved in voluntary disclosures and how to protect you if you do not qualify for a voluntary disclosure.
As uniquely qualified and extensively experienced Criminal Tax Defense Tax Attorneys, KovelCPAs and EAs, our firm provides a one stop shop to efficiently achieve the optimal and predictable results that simultaneously protect your liberty and your net worth. See our Testimonials to see what our clients have to say about us!
If you have failed to file a tax return for one or more years or have taken a position on a tax return that could not be supported upon an IRS or state tax authority audit, eggshell audit, reverse eggshell audit, or criminal tax investigation, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney to determine your best route back into federal or state tax compliance without facing criminal prosecution.
The first step in defending yourself against invasive, costly, and potentially life changing IRS civil and criminal tax enforcement action is to share your story under attorney client privilege with a dedicated dually licensed Criminal Tax Defense Attorney & CPA like the ones at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing. Call (800) 681-1295 or schedule online here for an initial case evaluation at a reduced rate.