What happened to Savannah Chrisley’s parents? Why they’re in prison

When Savannah Chrisley’s time on The Masked Singer came to an end this week, she credited her parents as the reason for taking part. 

The Chrisley Knows Best alum was unveiled as the Afghan Hound on the Fox show and said that her mom and dad, Julie and Todd Chrisley’s incarceration was the driving force behind her decision to partake. 

But what did her parents do to warrant a years-long sentence? Here’s everything we know about it. 

Todd Chrisley and Julie Chrisley are serving time in prison© Getty Images
Todd Chrisley and Julie Chrisley are serving time in prison

Who is Savannah Chrisley?

While she’s forged forward with a career in acting and podcasts, the Georgia-born star, 26, is best known as a reality TV personality. Savannah starred on USA Network’s Chrisley Knows Best from 2014 to 2021, and graduated to the  spinoff show Growing Up Chrisley between the years of 2019 and 2021.

Savannah has also had roles in 2016’s Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens and Royal Pains. 

Savannah’s parents Todd and Julie Chrisley

Todd and Julie rose to fame on Chrisley Knows Best. Savannah’s father was initially the centre of the show as a self-made millionaire and real estate mogul who had dreams of opening a department store. 

However, the show shifted to his family life at home with his wife, God-loving Julie and their many children, including Chrisley, Lindsey, Kyle, Chase and their granddaughter, Chloe too. 

Chrisley Knows Best was their reality TV show© USA Network
Chrisley Knows Best was their reality TV show

Todd files for bankruptcy 

Despite painting a picture-perfect life of a family with immense wealth and OTT spending habits – Todd once boasted on his show that they spend $300,000 on clothing a year – behind the scenes it was very different. 

Two years prior to landing their show, he had filed for bankruptcy citing $49.5 million in debt. A judge granted him relief and erased $20 million of his debt. 

They’re indicted on tax evasion and bank fraud 

Their world came tumbling down in August 2019 when Todd and Julie were forced to deny charges of tax evasion and bank fraud. 

Reality TV Personalities Julie Chrisley (L) and Todd Chrisley sit on a sofa© Paul Archuleta
Todd and Julie deny any wrongdoing

At the time, they said they had “nothing to hide” but during their trial in 2022, the government claimed the Chrisleys had exaggerated their earnings to banks and borrowed more than $30 million, a sum they could not pay back.

It was argued that the couple hid millions of dollars of income from the IRS and they didn’t file taxes between the years of 2013 and 2016.

Convicted and sentenced to prison

The result of a three-week trial was that Todd and Julie were convicted on all counts. They were initially put under house arrest but in November 2022 Todd was sentenced to 12 years behind bars and 16 months probation. 

Todd and Julie Chrisley showed off their 'wealth' on their TV show© Getty Images
Todd and Julie showed off their ‘wealth’ on their TV show

Julie was sentenced to seven years in prison and also 16 months probation.

They had their time reduced in September 2023. Todd’s release was moved to January 22, 2033, two years earlier than the original 2035 release, while Julie, who is serving time in FMC Lexington in Kentucky, will be released on October 19, 2028— 15 months earlier than the initially planned release date. 

They began their sentences in January 2023 and continue to deny the charges. 

What happened to Savannah’s younger siblings?

While they await the case’s appeal, Savannah became legal guardian to Grayson, 17, and Chloe, 11.  

Chrisley Knows Best aired on USA Network© USA Network
Chrisley Knows Best aired on USA Network

She says it’s been challenging for them all but told People that by going on The Masked Singer, she could also show them that it’s OK to “do something that you’re uncomfortable with, have fun, laugh at yourself.”

She also told her parents she was a contestant to give them a needed boost. 

“I told them especially just to give my parents something to look forward to,” Savannah told People. “Because I know that they can watch it from prison.

“That was really the main purpose of doing it, was just because I wanted them to get to be a part of it and get to watch it and laugh and kind of make a joke out of it with me.”

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