Todd and Julie Chrisley: Federal court orders lawyers to turn over money

Julie Chrisley (L) and Todd Chrisley attend the grand opening of E3 Chophouse Nashville on November 20, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images for E3 Chophouse Nashville)

Lawyers for former reality TV stars Todd and Julie Chrisley have been ordered by a federal judge to turn over nearly $30,000 being kept in a trust fund in Alabama.

According to court documents, a Writ of Garnishment was issued by the court on Jan. 11 and served upon the law firm Burr & Forman and the Chrisleys. 

The Chrisleys were told they had the right to request a hearing before the court to determine exempt property and the right to object to the law firm's response to the order. After not hearing from the Chrisleys, the court ordered the law firm on May 16 to turn over the money in the IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers' Trust Account) account to the court.

Why are the Chrisleys in prison?

In 2014, Atlanta real estate tycoon Todd Chrisley gave a tour of his closet in the premiere of "Chrisley Knows Best" and bragged about spending $300,000 a year on clothing. The couple and their children quickly became famous for showing off their opulent lifestyle on their USA Network TV show.

In 2019, the couple was indicted on charges including tax and bank fraud. They were accused of defrauding Atlanta banks of more than $30 million in personal loans. In 2022, they were convicted on all counts in a federal court in Georgia and sentenced to prison. They were also ordered to pay $17.2 million in restitution. Todd Chrisley, 55, reported to Federal Prison Camp Pensacola in January 2023, and Julie Chrisley, 51, reported to Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. They were initially ordered to serve a combined 19 years, but Todd's sentence has been reduced to 10 years and Julie's sentence was reduced to 5 years.

The couple's former accountant, Peter Tarantino, was also sentenced to 3 years in prison and fined $35,000.

Status of restitution

It is unknown if the Chrisleys have repaid any of the $17.2 million they were ordered to repay in restitution after their conviction. 

In January, they won a lawsuit against Joshua Waites, Georgia's former director of the Department of Revenue's special investigations unit. The Chrisleys sued Waites in 2019, saying they had been unfairly targeted in their tax evasion charge. The Chrisleys were cleared of state tax evasion charges.

Shortly after the court's decision, the federal government asked the court's permission to seize the settlement as part of the restitution that the couple owes.

However, Todd Chrisley was ordered to pay $755,000 to another investigator, Amy Doherty-Heinze, after a federal jury ruled that he defamed her. 

Conviction appeal

In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta heard an appeal from the couple's lawyer

Daughter Savannah Chrisley, who said at one point that she would pay the restitution for her parents, was at the hearing and said she hoped that the judges had the hearts and minds to see what was really going on. 

Although Savannah and siblings Chase Chrisley and Grayson Chrisley were at the hearing, older sister Lindsie was not after being told by Savannah not to attend, according to ET Online

Savannah and other family members believe that Lindsie helped the prosecutors build a case against her parents. It is expected to take several months for the Court of Appeals to make a decision on the case.

Savannah and siblings in therapy

Daughter Savannah, 26, recently revealed that she has attended an "intensive therapy program" twice to deal with decades of "trauma," according to the Daily Mail

However, Savannah did not specify what trauma she experienced for "almost 20 years of my life." 

The revelation was made during Tuesday's episode of her podcast. She also revealed that her younger siblings are in therapy due to the trauma of seeing their parents go to prison.