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Real estate TV stars sentenced to jail

Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley report to prison

Couple to sentenced for fraud, tax evasion and falsifying documents

Todd and Julie Chrisley, Prison

Todd and Julie Chrisley (Getty)

It turns out Chrisley might not know best after all.

Married couple Todd and Julie Chrisley, stars of the USA reality show “Chrisley Knows Best,” have been sentenced to serve 12 and seven years, respectively, in federal prison for fraud and tax evasion, the Washington Post reported. An almost three-week-long trial in Atlanta looked at evidence that the couple defrauded community banks of more than $30 million in loans and evaded federal income taxes for years.

Todd’s former business partner Mark Braddock testified that he falsified documents for the Chrisleys to commit financial crimes. He was granted immunity for his cooperation with authorities, but the Chrisleys’ accountant, Peter Tarantino, was sentenced to three years as well for his involvement.

Ever since the show, which follows the couple and their five children, aired in 2014, viewers have questioned the source of the otherwise ordinary family’s wealth. Before the show premiered, People magazine found that Todd filed for bankruptcy in 2012 after several lawsuits, “outrageous spending and spiraling debt” left him with more than $9 million in debt. At the time, his lawyer blamed the bankruptcy on a failed real estate development and repeatedly waved off concerns that the Chrisleys were still living such a lavish lifestyle.

During the most recent trial, prosecutors claimed that, in addition to evading taxes and taking out fraudulent loans, the Chrisleys also used fake bank statements, including making “a fabricated credit report that had been physically cut and taped or glued together” and using it to lease a home in California.

Todd will serve his sentence at FPC Pensacola in Florida and Julie will serve her time at FMC Lexington in Kentucky. The couple reported to their respective prisons this week, but they have both maintained their innocence on all charges, claiming Braddock and Tarantino master-minded the whole thing. The Chrisleys have said they think they’re being unfairly targeted because they’re celebrities.

“The Chrisleys have been involved in a multiyear battle regarding these charges, and I think they will be vindicated on appeal,” Chris Anulewicz, the couple’s lawyer, told the outlet.