ATLANTA - Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley may have won a $1-million settlement in their legal battle against the state of Georgia, but the couple might not be able to keep the money for long.
Court documents obtained by RadarOnline showed the federal government is asking the court's permission to seize the seven-figure settlement payout as part of the restitution the couple owes.
The Chrisleys sued Joshua Waites, Georgia's former director of the Department of Revenue's special investigations unit, in 2019, claiming that they had been unfairly targeted in their tax evasion charge.
The lawsuit claimed that Waites focused his efforts on the family and targeted Todd Chrisley's estranged daughter Lindise, going so far as to allegedly share the couple's confidential tax information with her.
"Ultimately, Waites’ efforts failed, but in the process, the Chrisleys were forced to incur substantial personal and financial hardship," the reality stars' former attorney Michael J. Bowers wrote in the lawsuit.
At the time of the settlement, the Chrisleys' new attorney told People that the settlement was "an encouraging sign" in their federal case, but the new court filing may change that.
As part of their sentencing, the couple was ordered to immediately pay more than $17 million in restitution to the banks they swindled millions from, according to judgment documents. The federal government wants to use the $1 million to pay part of that bill.
Chrisleys' attorney says the payment has not gone directly to the couple.
"This money did not go directly to either Todd or Julie, however, and neither of them have received any funds from the settlement. But numerous debts they previously owed, including some reflected in the pre-sentencing financial disclosures, were paid in whole or in part. Given that these payments resolve some of their debt, and therefore change their "economic circumstances" in "material" ways, the Defendants believed it prudent to notify the Court and the United States Attorney in accordance with the Judgment," the lawyer told RadarOnline.
A federal judge has not ruled on the government's motion.
What were Todd and Julie Chrisley found guilty of?
While Todd and Julie Chrisley settled their case with the Georgia Department of Revenue for nearly $150,000, they were found guilty in 2022 of tax evasion and defrauding community banks out of more than $30 million in fraudulent loans in federal court.
Prosecutors said the couple neglected their responsibility to repay the loans when Todd Chrisley declared bankruptcy. While in bankruptcy, they started their reality show and "flaunted their wealth and lifestyle to the American public," prosecutors wrote, and then hid the millions they made from the show from the IRS. Julie Chrisley was also convicted of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
The Chrisleys gained fame with their show "Chrisley Knows Best," which followed their tight-knit family on the USA Network. The couple spent millions on designer-brand clothes, luxury cars and real estate, including two mansions in Nashville, Tennessee, reportedly worth about $9 million.
An Atlanta U.S. District Court judge sentenced Todd Chrisley to 12 years in prison, and Julie Chrisley to seven years. Each is to serve three years of supervised release afterward.
In addition to prison time, the couple has been ordered to immediately pay more than $17 million in restitution to the banks they swindled millions from, according to judgment documents.
Peter Tarantino, an accountant hired by the couple, was found guilty of defrauding the United States and willfully filing false tax returns. He will serve three years in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.