Todd and Julie Chrisley get $1 million to settle lawsuit against a Georgia tax official

Todd and Julie Chrisley received $1 million to settle their lawsuit against a Georgia tax official, the family’s attorney announced this week.

The reality television personalities, who are serving prison sentences for federal bank fraud and tax evasion convictions, filed their lawsuit against the state in 2019. The suit alleged that Joshua Waites, director of the Georgia Department of Revenue’s office of special investigations, used his position to pursue “bogus tax evasion claims” against them for “publicity and money” rather than “enforcing the law.”

The agreement was reached with the state of Georgia, which will pay the settlement amount to the family, Chrisley attorney Alex Little said Tuesday in a statement.

“We have been saying for months that the criminal case against the Chrisleys was highly unusual and had real problems,” Little said. “This settlement is an encouraging sign. It’s nearly unprecedented for one arm of the government to pay money to defendants when another arm is fighting to keep them in jail.”

The “Chrisley Knows Best” stars were convicted in June 2022 on charges of bank fraud, tax evasion and conspiring to defraud the IRS. Julie Chrisley also was convicted of wire fraud and obstruction of justice. The couple began their respective prison sentences in January 2023. Todd was sentenced to 12 years at Florida’s Federal Prison Camp Pensacola while Julie received a seven-year sentence at Kentucky’s Federal Medical Center in Lexington. They also received 16 months’ probation each.

However, the two are continuing to fight their convictions and will be heard in a federal appeals court in Atlanta in April. They had filed their lawsuit against the tax official shortly after they were indicted by a federal grand jury.

The Chrisleys’ lawsuit alleged that the Georgia tax official had targeted the couple’s estranged daughter, Lindsie Chrisley Campbell, and improperly shared confidential tax information to try to get compromising information on the family. As a result of the official’s efforts, which ultimately failed, the Chrisleys were forced to “incur substantial personal and financial hardship,” the suit said.

Although they were eventually cleared in the state’s tax evasion case, the federal government pursued its own investigation.

According to prosecutors, the Chrisleys submitted fake documents to banks when applying for loans to fund their expensive lifestyle. They said Julie Chrisley also submitted a false credit report and fake bank statements when trying to rent a house in California, then the couple refused to pay rent a few months after they started using the home.

Together with their accountant Peter Tarantino, who also was sentenced to prison his role in the situation, the couple schemed to defraud the Internal Revenue Service to avoid paying taxes, prosecutors said. The Chrisleys failed to file tax returns or pay any taxes from 2013 to 2016, even as their wealth grew while they starred in their reality TV show, which debuted in 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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