Todd Chrisley and Wife Julie Cleared of $2 Million State Tax Evasion Charge
Todd and Julie Chrisley have been cleared of their state tax evasion charge in Georgia, PEOPLE confirms.
The Georgia Department of Revenue agreed that the Chrisley Knows Best stars, who had been accused of evading nearly $2 million is state taxes between 2008 and 2016, had overpaid in four of those years, according to a press release obtained by PEOPLE on Tuesday. The couple owed nothing for four other years, according to the release, and had a net liability of less than $77,000 in overdue taxes for just one year of incorrect filing.
“Julie and I knew all along that we had done nothing wrong and that when the facts all came out, we would be fine,” Todd said in a statement. “We’re just glad that the Department of Revenue was willing to keep an open mind and look at all the evidence.”
Last week, the Chrisleys and Department of Revenue officials signed a settlement agreement that ultimately led to the end of a two-year investigation into the Chrisleys’ alleged state tax liabilities, the press release stated.
In the settlement, the DOR dropped its claim that the couple owed more than $2.1 million in unpaid state taxes, penalties, and interest, according to the release, and agreed that their total outstanding debt to the state totaled under $110,000. The sole year they owed the state any money was 2009, according to the release; that liability has been paid.
Although the tax evasion charge has been cleared, the Chrisleys continue to face federal charges for allegedly evading federal taxes in the same years.
“We have maintained from day one that there has not been any tax evasion by our clients Todd and Julie Chrisley,” attorney Bruce H. Morris of Finestone, Morris & White, said in a statement. “This settlement with the state is a big step in the direction of proving their innocence.”
In August, the couple was indicted by a grand jury for tax evasion, wire fraud and conspiracy bank fraud, according to court papers acquired by PEOPLE. They turned themselves in and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The indictment was handed down in Atlanta-Georgia Northern District. The reality stars’ former accountant, Peter Tarantino, is facing the same charges.
“The allegations contained in the indictment are based on complete falsehoods. The Chrisleys are innocent of all charges,” the family’s attorneys said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE in August.
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In a previous statement to PEOPLE, Morris and Friedberg said, “For quite some time now, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia has been conducting an investigation of Todd and Julie Chrisley based for the most part on the demonstrably false allegations of a former officer of a company they owned jointly. We saw the results of this effort yesterday — an indictment against Todd, Julie, and their accountant that relies largely if not entirely on emails that we know Todd never sent but rather were fabricated …”
They added that they believed a former employee was making the allegations in retaliation for “a federal RICO suit that the Chrisleys filed against him in 2012. Ironically, it was this lawsuit that sent him to the U.S. Attorney’s office. He wasn’t looking for justice but for revenge …” (Court records indicate that Julie filed a federal RICO lawsuit in 2012 against an executive of Chrisley Asset Management. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed by the court.) “Now, seven years later, the government has granted this individual immunity from prosecution … to bring an indictment against the Chrisleys.”
The attorneys said in their statement, “We have no doubt that if this case ever reaches a courtroom, Todd and Julie will be completely exonerated. But in the meantime, their reputation will be sullied by a shamefully unjustified prosecution,” they concluded.
Hours prior to the appearance, Todd and Julie turned themselves in to the Federal Bureau of Investigation — one day after being hit with a 12-count indictment that spans nine years. The indictment, obtained by PEOPLE, alleged that the Chrisleys participated in tax evasion, wire fraud and conspiracy bank fraud.
In the indictment, prosecutors claimed the Chrisleys used their production company, 7 C Production, to hide their reality TV income from the IRS, and alleged that Todd directed an employee to falsify income and asset documents. In addition, the Chrisleys allegedly submitted false documents to banks when applying for loans, including fabricated bank statements listing inflated account balances, personal financial statements containing false information about available funds, false invoices, and false audit paperwork.