Todd and Julie Chrisley will likely serve the majority of their prison sentences in a low-level ‘camp environment,’ according to an expert.
On Monday, Todd, 54, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for bank fraud and tax evasion, while his wife Julie, 49, was sentenced to seven years for her involvement in the crimes.
Both were also sentenced to three years supervised release to be completed after serving their prison time, according to a news release from the Northern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Of the Chrisley Knows Best stars’ fate, former federal prosecutor and president of West Coast Trial Lawyers Neama Rahmani, who has no ties to the Chrisley case, tells PEOPLE under federal law, the couple is expected to serve “85 percent of their sentence.”
“And that’s the minimum they’re going to have to serve if they’re model inmates,” Rahmani says. “Unlike states where inmates can sometimes serve less than even half of their sentence, under federal statutes, you only get a slight reduction for good behavior.”
According to The New York Times, Todd and Julie are expected to report to prison at the start of the New Year. Even though the couple is expected to appeal the judge’s decision, Rahmani says the process won’t delay their report date and, in fact, will likely be unsuccessful.
“I think this shows a [level of] narcissism. There was so much evidence in those financial records,” says Rahmani.
“The fact that they didn’t accept any responsibility, even after they were convicted, is one of the reasons the judge hammered them, and they got such high sentences. They didn’t take any steps to mitigate what they had done.”
“So, they’re going to roll the dice on an appeal. I don’t think an appeal will be very successful, because there’s no clear legal error,” he says. “They have a very slim chance of winning.”
While Todd and Julie share adult children Chase, 26, and Savannah, 25, (Todd is also dad to Kyle, 31, and Lindsie, 33, from his previous marriage) the pair remain primary caregivers to son Grayson, 16, and their 10-year-old granddaughter Chloe — and questions continue to swirl around who will look after the underage children if both parents are forced to report to prison simultaneously.
“The best-case scenario is that they can stagger their sentence … but that’s as good as it’s going to get for them,” Rahmani says.
If they do end up serving parallel prison sentences, Rahmani insists they will be forbidden from visiting each other at their respective correctional facilities.
“That would be unprecedented,” he says.
However, the couple’s lack of criminal history and low risk of violence will afford them a low-level security prison that will likely offer a multitude of therapies, educational programs, and religious studies.
“It’s not going to be Club Med,” says Rahmani. “That’s a misconception, but it’s going to be somewhat of a camp environment where they’re going to be able to interact with other inmates.”
In June, a jury found the Chrisley’s guilty of faking audits, bank statements and their personal finances to obtain $36 million in loans. In turn, the couple spent the money on “luxury cars, designer clothes, real estate, and travel — and used new fraudulent loans to pay back old ones,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office news release reads.
The couple’s accountant, Peter Tarantino, 60, was also convicted of tax-related violations. He was sentenced to three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
We’re honestly surprised they got prison sentences to begin with — not that they don’t deserve them, but because they’re white celebrities.