Reality TV star had $50 million debt before being sentenced to prison
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo
A reality TV star who was recently sentenced to jail time for fraud had nearly $50 million in debt before he was arrested.
For those not familiar with Todd Chrisley, he and his wife Julie knew how to spend money.
In fact, along with their five children, they demonstrated how they splashed the cash on their lavish lifestyle in the reality series Chrisley Knows Best.
The real estate developer and his family lived in a 30,000-sq-ft Atlanta mansion, even admitting in a promo for the show: "In a year, we sometimes spend $300,000 or more, just on clothing."
But while appearances suggested they were living the life of the mega rich, behind closed doors it was a different story.
You see, Todd was in a lot of debt – and rather than taking the honest route, he chose greed.
The 53-year-old filed for bankruptcy in 2012, but in documents obtained by People, he listed just $4.2 million in assets while his debts totalled an eye-watering $49.4 million.
Robert Furr, Todd's attorney at the time, told the outlet in 2014: "He guaranteed a real estate development loan and it failed.
"He was on the hook for $30 million. If he hadn’t had that happen, he would have been fine, financially."
On top of the business bills, the former entrepreneur owed $12 million in mortgages, nearly $600,000 to the IRS and a whopping $4.4 million to his very own wife.
The couple would go on to work together with the help of their former business partner to defraud community banks in Atlanta and obtain more than $36 million in personal loans.
According to the US Attorney’s Office, they submitted false bank statements, audit reports and personal financial statements in order to get the cash.
They then spent it on luxury cars, designer clothes, real estate and travel, using new fraudulent loans to pay back the old ones.
Once the money dried up, Todd is said to have filed for bankruptcy and walked away from the debt.
Along with their accountant, Peter Tarantino, the Chrisleys also conspired to defraud the IRS and didn't pay taxes from 2013 to 2016.
Eventually authorities caught up with them after noticing that their lavish lifestyle didn't match their supposed financial situation.
In 2019, Todd and Julie were arrested, and in June this year they were found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit tax evasion.
This Monday (21 November), they received their sentencing – 12 years for Todd and seven for Julie.
Tarantino was also sentenced to 36 months in prison for his role in the crimes.
Footage played during the hearing showed the Chrisleys boasting about their extravagant lifestyle, which they were only able to live as a product of their fraud.
Assistant US Attorney Annalise Peters told the court: "Of course there is nothing bad about being rich. There is nothing wrong about making lots of money, It's the American dream."
Another bit of living that dream, she pointed out, involves paying taxes.
The Chrisleys both addressed the court at the emotional hearing to ask for leniency.
Todd asked the court to let his wife take less jail time because of their two children, Grayson and Chloe, while Julie said that her children including their adopted daughter would struggle without their parents around.
But US District Judge Eleanor Ross said that she was left with no choice but to put both of the parents behind bars.
"It is heartbreaking, but it has to be burdened by the defendants," she said.
"I've never heard any acceptance of any crime, I've never really heard any admission to any wrongdoing or any remorse."