Reality stars Chrisley charged with tax evasion

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ATLANTA — A federal grand jury in Atlanta on Tuesday indicted reality television stars Todd and Julie Chrisley on charges including tax evasion, alleging among other things that they tried to hide their income from "Chrisley Knows Best" from the IRS.

The 12-count indictment also accuses the pair of conspiracy, bank fraud and wire fraud.

"The allegations contained in the indictment are based on complete falsehoods. The Chrisleys are innocent of all charges," Chrisley attorneys Bruce H. Morris and Stephen Friedberg said in an emailed statement.

Accountant Peter Tarantino, 56, was charged in the indictment with conspiracy to defraud the United States and aiding the filing of a false tax return. A woman who answered the phone at his office outside Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon said he was with a client and would have no comment.

"Chrisley Knows Best" follows the tight-knit, boisterous family living in the Nashville area. 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.

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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."

A representative for NBCUniversal, which owns USA, declined to comment.

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.

Todd Chrisley denied any wrongdoing in a lengthy Instagram post Monday. In his post, Chrisley 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."


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