Reality TV star Julie Chrisley’s sentence overturned

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An appeals court has overturned reality TV star Julie Chrisley’s fraud conviction and ordered a resentencing.

Chrisley and her husband, Todd Chrisley, rose to fame on the show “Chrisley Knows Best” which chronicled the exploits of their close-knit family. They were both convicted in 2022 of conspiring to defraud community banks out of more than $30 million in fraudulent loans. The Chrisleys were also found guilty of tax evasion by hiding their income while displaying an extravagant lifestyle.

The couple’s accountant, Peter Tarantino, was tried with them and was convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States and willfully filing false tax returns.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Chrisley and Tarantino convictions but overturned Julie Chrisley’s sentence, explaining in court papers filed Friday that it could not independently find evidence holding her responsible for the losses suffered before 2007.

They did, however, find enough evidence linking her to a multi-year fraud beginning in 2007.

“We must vacate Julie’s sentence so that the district court can address the precise question of the amount of loss attributable to Julie” so that her sentence can be recalculated, the appeals panel wrote.

Chrisley’s case is now sent back to the lower court for re-sentencing.

“We are pleased that the Court recognized that Julie’s sentence was inappropriate, but we are obviously disappointed that it rejected Todd’s appeal,” said Alex Little, acting as the Chrisleys’ attorney. “With this step taken, we can now challenge the couple’s convictions on the basis of the illegal search which gave rise to the case. The family appreciates the continued support they have received throughout this process. And they hope for more good news in the future.

You can consult the court of appeal file below:

Shortly after the court handed down its ruling, the Chrisleys’ daughter Savannah posted an Instagram Reel describing it as “a small victory.”

Before the Chrisleys became reality TV stars, they and a former business partner submitted false documents to Atlanta-area banks to obtain fraudulent loans, prosecutors said at trial. They accused the couple of spending lavishly on luxury cars, designer clothes, real estate and travel, and of using new fraudulent loans to pay off old ones. Todd Chrisley then filed for bankruptcy, according to prosecutors, forgiving more than $20 million in unpaid loans.

FILE – Todd Chrisley, left, and his wife, Julie Chrisley, pose for photos during the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, file)

Their defense attorneys argued unsuccessfully on appeal that an IRS agent lied at trial when he testified that the couple still owed taxes and that prosecutors knowingly failed to correct this. false testimony. They also claimed that prosecutors did not present enough evidence to convict the Chrisleys of tax evasion and conspiracy, or that Julie Chrisley participated in bank fraud.

Tarantino’s lawyer argued that the accountant was prejudiced by being tried with the Chrisleys. His request for a new trial was denied.

Julie Chrisley was sentenced to seven years in federal prison and Todd Chrisley was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The couple was also ordered to pay $17.8 million in restitution.

Todd Chrisley, 56, is in a minimum security federal prison camp in Pensacola, Florida, with a release date of September 2032, while Julie Chrisley, 51, is in a facility in Lexington, Kentucky, and is expected to be released in July 2028. according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.

Tarantino, 61, is being held at a minimum-security federal prison camp in Montgomery, Alabama, with a release date of August next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.