Reality television starshave pleaded not guilty to tax evasion and other federal charges. The “Chrisley Knows Best” stars entered the pleas at an initial court appearance Wednesday. The 12-count indictment also accuses the pair of conspiracy, bank fraud and wire fraud.
A judge agreed to release them on $100,000 unsecured bond each. That means they only have to pay if they fail to show up for court dates. Lawyers for the couple have said the Chrisleys are innocent of all charges.
“Chrisley Knows Best” follows the tight-knit, boisterous family living in the Nashville area and has been on cable for seven seasons. Much of the series emphasizes Todd Chrisley’s obsessive yet comedic efforts to keep tabs on three of his kids — two of whom are in their 20s — and his mother.
The family moved to Tennessee a few years ago, but the criminal charges stem from when they lived in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, U.S. Attorney Byung J. BJay Pak said in a news conference Tuesday.
A representative for NBCUniversal, which owns USA, declined to comment.
The series has aired on USA for seven seasons and recently premiered a spinoff called “Growing Up Chrisley,” featuring his kids Chase and Savannah, who move to Los Angeles. Todd Chrisley also briefly hosted a talk show, “According to Chrisley,” for the network. Todd, 51, and Julie Chrisley, 46, also have a podcast called “Chrisley Confessions.”
Todd Chrisley denied any wrongdoing in a lengthy Instagram post Monday. He said he was aware that he and his wife were going to be named in a federal indictment for tax evasion “and probably a bunch of other financial crimes as well.”
He said the charges stem from a dispute with an unidentified former employee who he said was fired after the Chrisleys discovered in 2012 that he was stealing from them. The former employee then retaliated by bringing phony documents to the U.S. attorney’s office and told prosecutors the Chrisleys had committed financial crimes, Chrisley wrote.
“I’m telling you all this now because we have nothing to hide and have done nothing to be ashamed of,” he wrote. “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.”
Pak said at a news conference Tuesday that he was aware of Chrisley’s post and that the former employee is identified in the indictment as “Co-conspirator A.” Pak said Chrisley “directed the falsifying or creation of false documents and directed Co-conspirator A to submit them” to banks.
The scheme, which lasted from 2007 to 2012, involved submitting fake bank and financial statements to financial institutions to get loans worth millions, “much of which they used for their own personal benefit,” the indictment said.
Source : Cbs News