More than two years after Todd and Julie Chrisley were charged with several counts of bank and wire fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy, the Chrisley Knows Best stars’ trial is underway.
Todd, 53, and Julie, 49, arrived in an Atlanta court on May 17 for opening statements, during which Assistant US Attorney Annalise Peters alleged that the pair exaggerated their earnings to banks to borrow more than $30 million.
“They made up documents and they lie through their teeth to get whatever they want, whenever they want it,” Peters said in court, claiming that they hid funds from the IRS, according to Insider.
The USA stars’ lawyer, in response, has stated that Todd and Julie’s former employee Mark Braddock committed the crimes behind the twosome’s back by impersonating Todd after he was fired in 2012. While Peters referred to Braddock as a “fraudster” as she spoke to the jury, she claimed that Todd and Julie’s alleged fraud continued after he was terminated.
All along, the goal was to hide the money,” Peters said, alleging that Todd, Julie and Braddock “targeted” community banks and cut and pasted parts of financial documents, a term referred to as “scrapbooking.”
Todd, who has been married to Julie since 1996, denied the allegations against the couple in 2019.
“It all started back in 2012, when we discovered that a trusted employee of ours had been stealing from us big time. I won’t go into details, but 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. We even discovered that he illegally bugged our home,” he wrote via Instagram. “To get revenge, he took a bunch of his phony documents to the U.S. Attorney’s office and told them we had committed all kinds of financial crimes, like tax evasion and bank fraud. That got their attention all right, but once we had a chance to explain who he was and what he’d done to us, they realized it was all a bunch of nonsense and they sent him on his way.”
Todd alleged at the time that the former employee “persuaded a different set of investigators at the U.S. Attorney’s office not only to reopen the case but also to grant him immunity from prosecution for his own crimes and bring charges against us.”
He concluded at the time: “I’m telling you all this now because we have nothing to hide and have done nothing to be ashamed of. Not only do we know we’ve done nothing wrong, but we’ve got a ton of hard evidence and a bunch of corroborating witnesses that proves it.”
What Are Todd and Julie Chrisley Charged With?
Todd and Julie were indicted on five counts of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of tax fraud. Julie, who has been accused of creating a fake credit report and false bank statements to rent a home, is also charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, according to The Tennessean.
The couple’s accountant, Peter Tarantino, is also on trial as he was charged with two counts of willfully filing false tax returns and one count of conspiracy to defraud the government.
Who Is Mark Braddock?
According to Insider, Braddock told the court that he met Todd in the early 2000s through their respective children’s school and became friends. He worked for Todd’s foreclosure-management businesses until 2012. Braddock, who the government gave an immunity agreement in exchange for his cooperation, testified that he created fake Microsoft Word documents to lie about Todd and Julie’s income to make them look wealthier so they could allegedly acquire loans.
The Chrisleys’ attorney Morris, meanwhile, claimed that Braddock was “obsessed” with Todd and went to the FBI for “protection and revenge.” He also alleged Braddock stole from the couple.