A federal grand jury has indicted reality TV couple Todd and Julie Chrisley and a former certified public accountant named Peter Tarantino in connection with financial crimes.
The indictment was handed down Tuesday in Georgia’s Northern District, WSB-TV reported. Charges include conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion.
#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
The 12-count indictment alleges tax evasion, wire fraud and the use of the Chrisleys' production company to hide their reality TV income from the IRS. It also alleges Todd Chrisley directed his employee to falsify income and asset documents, pointing toward text message communication.
"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.
"They had a production company named 7C's Productions, 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.
In an Instagram post Monday night, Chrisley declared he had nothing to hide and said 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 WSB-TV investigation in 2017 when an 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 Chrisleys' 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 the 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.
WSB-TV 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 Chrisleys and Tarantino have made arrangements to turn themselves in later this week.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.