ATLANTA — A federal grand jury has indicted reality TV couple Todd and Julie Chrisley and a former CPA named Peter Tarantino in connection with financial crimes.
A federal grand jury handed up the indictment Tuesday in downtown Atlanta. Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr broke the news of the indictment on Twitter.
[DOCUMENT: Read the full indictment against the Chrisleys]
The 12-count indictment alleges tax evasion, wire fraud and the use of the Chrisley's production company to hide their reality TV income from the IRS. It also alleges Chrisley directed his employee to falsify income and asset documents, pointing toward text message communication.
#Breaking #Exclusive (thread) : Reality TV couple Todd and Julie Chrisley and their former CPA Peter Tarantino just indicted by federal grand jury for tax evasion, other financial crimes.— Nicole Carr (@NicoleCarrWSB) August 13, 2019
Indictment handed down in Atlanta-Georgia Northern District. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/81HOeTTKui
[READ: Records show reality TV star likely evaded state income taxes in Georgia]
"I want to make note here: Just because you're rich and on a TV show doesn't mean that the law is not going to come get you when you commit a federal crime," said BJay Pak, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
[READ: Todd Chrisley and his wife owe the state nearly $800,000, documents say]
The indictment covers nine years and says the Chrisleys used false documents to secure millions in loans starting as early as 2007 and didn't pay income taxes from 2013 to 2016, including time they lived in Georgia.
“They had a production company named 7C Production, which was paid the fees that the TV stations paid for the show. Of course, that was not declared as income in federal tax returns," Pak said.
[READ: State opens investigation after records show reality star dodged taxes]
In an Instagram post Monday night, Chrisley declared he had nothing to hide saying he'd been blackmailed by a former employee.
The federal government says the opposite.
“The fact that he's denying it so far -- we look forward to the day to prove all this in court. We're very confident in the evidence,” Pak said.
TROUBLE IN GEORGIA
Chrisley was the subject of a Channel 2 Action News investigation in 2017 when our investigative unit found the Chrisleys were under investigation for state tax evasion and claims of legal residency in Florida, rather than their home base of Georgia.
The Chrisley's own son Kyle outed them.
"He's going to say he's a Florida resident until he goes to jail. I mean, honestly,” Kyle Chrisley said.
Shortly after our story aired, Chrisley pushed back in an interview with iHeart radio.
"Obviously the federal government likes my tax returns because I've paid 750,000 to $1 million just about every year, so the federal government doesn't have a problem with my taxes," Chrisley said at the time.
Carr later found the Chrisleys had a nearly $800,000 judgment against them in the Fulton County courts.
“My taxes have always been filed. And if I don't make money in Georgia, I don't pay taxes on it in Georgia. So, I'm not worried about some off-beat reporter trying to attach her name to my name in order for her to have a name,” Chrisley said.
Those state liens are being resolved by the couple. Pak says he is seeking prison time in this separate, federal case.
The USA Network, which airs the family’s reality show “Chrisley Knows Best,” declined to comment on Tuesday's indictment.
The Chrisleys and Tarantino have made arrangements to turn themselves in later this week.
NEW (thread): Just wrapped interview w BJ Pak, US Attorney for Georgia Northern District.— Nicole Carr (@NicoleCarrWSB) August 13, 2019
Says the Chrisleys were not reporting sizable reality tv salary to the IRS. Feds: Former Roswell CPA (Tarantino) aided falsifying of docs. Named in counts 11, 12 of 12 ct indictment @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/ymvrdFAQyl
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