ATLANTA — The first day of the federal trial for reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley wrapped up Tuesday in downtown Atlanta.
The couple from “Chrisley Knows Best” faces criminal bank fraud and tax evasion charges.
The case involves an allegation of $30 million in fraudulent bank loans the government says the Chrisleys took out to fund their lavish lifestyle and extravagant spending — even before becoming reality TV stars.
The second part of the case involves tax evasion, accusing the Chrisleys of trying to hide the millions made from the show so they wouldn’t have to pay a huge tax bill to the IRS.
But the Chrisleys say they did nothing wrong and someone else had control of their finances.
Federal prosecutors say the Chrisleys’ wealth was a lie and the couple manufactured documents and defrauded area banks out of $30 million in loans, eventually filing bankruptcy and walking away from more than $20 million owed.
But the lawyer for the star of the still-running “Chrisley Knows Best” said his business partner “took over being Todd” and blames him for the bank fraud while the couple didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes.
- Todd Chrisley, wife indicted by federal grand jury on tax evasion charges
- Todd Chrisley and his wife owe the state nearly $800,000, documents say
- Todd and Julie Chrisley sue ‘rogue’ tax official
- The Chrisleys’ attorney says they are being targeted by rogue revenue department agents
- ‘The good Lord will hold our hand’: Chrisleys bond out on tax evasion charges
In a statement Todd Chrisley posted last year to Instagram addressing the federal indictment, he said:
“It involved all kinds of really bad stuff like creating phony documents, forging our signatures and threatening other employees with violence if they said anything.”
The government claims the Chrisleys made $6 million over the first four seasons of their reality show, then tried to hide the money in efforts to avoid paying nearly $500,000 in back taxes -— at one point even transferring ownership of their company into the name of Todd’s mother, Nanny Faye, on the show.
The Chrisleys’ attorneys claim there was no conspiracy or attempt to evade taxes and that they were just inattentive and followed bad advice.
During opening statements, Todd Chrisley’s attorney addressed claims he made on the show about how much money they had and said a bunch of reality TV is scripted and some of it was made up.
The federal prosecutors started with their first witnesses Tuesday afternoon: a bank employee and an IRS investigator.
The trial is expected to last three to four weeks.
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