The federal trial against reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley began on Monday in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Chrisleys are facing several charges, including bank fraud and tax evasion.
Even though the trial is still in its early stages, shocking updates have come to light.
Prosecutors say a “co-conspirator” of Todd Chrisley’s once sent a financial statement that showed Chrisley had millions of dollars in a bank account.
A superseding indictment from February included an email a Chrisley “co-conspirator” sent to a bank, which included a financial statement showing that Chrisley had $ 4 million in a Merrill Lynch bank account.
The statement was allegedly false, since Chrisley did not have an account with Merrill Lynch at that time. When he did open an account with the financial institution in 2008, he never had more than $ 17,000 on deposit, the indictment said.
“As a result of false representations like these, a number of banks issued the conspirators millions of dollars in loans, much of which Todd and Julie Chrisley used for their own personal benefit,” the indictment read.
The Chrisleys “burned” through loans to purchase luxury items.
Assistant US Attorney Annalise Peters said in her opening statement on Tuesday that the Chrisleys not only submitted fake documents that implied they had greater wealth than they actually did, but that the couple also “burned” through the $ 30 million they received in loans on luxury items .
“They made up documents and they lie through their teeth to get whatever they want, whenever they want it,” Peters said to the jury.
According to Peters, the Chrisleys hid money from the IRS while partaking in a lavish lifestyle.
But an attorney for Todd Chrisley said the couple exaggerated some aspects of their lifestyle for their television show.
Chrisley has made several bold claims about his spending over the years – in 2017, he said during a radio interview that he paid over $ 1 million in taxes per year (even Peters said “hadn’t paid a dime” in years, and records presented at trial show no significant payments), and in an episode of his reality show “Chrisley Knows Best,” the television personality claimed to spend about $ 300,000 annually on clothing.
“It’s all part of the sizzle. It’s all part of the show. It’s all part of the act,” attorney Bruce Morris recently told the jury of Chrisley’s claims. According to Morris, despite Chrisley’s attempts to appear wealthy on the reality show, he was actually in bankruptcy when he made the claim about his hefty wardrobe budget.
Morris also said that the Chrisley’s ex-employee who turned them into to federal agents was “obsessed” with Todd and “wanted to be him.”
Mark Braddock worked for the Chrisleys until 2012, and during that time, Chrisley’s attorney Bruce Morris argued, Braddock did everything he could so that he could “live like Todd,” including buying one of Chrisley’s former homes, and impersonating Chrisley on phone calls.
Morris went on to argue that after Chrisley fired Braddock, the ex-employee went to the FBI for “protection and revenge,” and claimed that Chrisley had committed bank fraud.
The defense, on the other hand, said that the Chrisleys continued to “lie through their teeth” to get bank loans and avoid taxes even after they’d fired Braddock.
The woman who made the Chrisleys famous was a previous employee who he owed $ 10,000
Annie Kate Pons, a producer on “Chrisley Knows Best,” tested Thursday that she met Todd Chrisley in Los Angeles in 2009. She was a former DC newswoman who moved to LA to work in TV.
While trying to break into the business, she met with Todd Chrisley because he had plans to launch a luxury department store, “Chrisley and Co,” she tested.
Pons said she was trying to sell a line of baby clothes to Chrisley. He did not buy them but offered her a future job as a buyer for the department store.
She took the job, and flew to New York during fashion week to try and network with designers for the future store, which never came to fruition.
In the end, Chrisley owed Pon $ 10,000 in unpaid work, which she tried to get.
“But it never came,” she said.
A few years later, though, when working on TV, Pons kept thinking of the Chrisley’s boisterous family and pitched a reality show in their name. The sizzle reel took off, and the show was sold to USA Network.
Pons testified that she only worked on the show for one season, but will be credited as a producer for the lifetime of the show – bringing in around $ 200,000 a year.
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