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September 27, 2023

Guy Blames Failing the CPA Exam on Why His Clients Got Busted for Bank Fraud and Tax Evasion

Scrabble tiles spelling out "fail your way to success"

Hanlon’s razor states “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Meaning most of the time when someone does something bad, it’s not because they’re a bad person, rather too stupid to know better. Or something. Socially anxious people with victim complexes — who no doubt make up a large portion of Going Concern readership as well as contributors — should read up on the concept next time they’re convinced colleagues are out to get them. They aren’t purposely dickheads, they just don’t like you. Where the hell was I going with this? Oh right. Hanlon’s razor can apply to actual criminal acts as well, though “I didn’t know any better” hasn’t historically worked as that great of a Get Out of Jail Free card. One Georgia accountant is gonna give it a shot anyway.

Reality couple Todd and Julie Chrisley of Chrisley Knows Best are currently in federal court for … well let me be honest here, I could not possibly give less of a crap what these people are in trouble for. Thank goodness this Insider article has bolded bullet points so I don’t have to spend my afternoon reading up on this shit.

  • Reality TV couple Julie and Todd Chrisley are on trial for bank fraud and tax evasion in Atlanta.
  • Prosecutors said they “burned through” money on a lifestyle outside their budget.
  • Their lawyer said the fraud was committed by a former employee who reported the couple to the FBI.

OK sweet, we’re caught up. Let’s add here that the Chrisleys are accused of submitting fake documents to borrow $30 million, exaggerating their wealth with fake wealth in order to secure more fake wealth that they then blew on crap that would make them look wealthier than they are. Allegedly. Wait, didn’t this happen with another reality couple? Oh right, it did.

We’re talking about the case today not because we care what is happening with these people but rather because the couple’s accountant is in trouble as well and said accountant’s lawyer has offered an interesting defense for why he got tied up in this mess. Read:

The Chrisley’s accountant, Peter Tarantino, is charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of willfully filing false tax returns.

An attorney for Tarantino said that his client was an accountant who failed the CPA exam many times over 20 years and was unqualified to handle the Chrisleys’ finances. Tarantino is a procrastinator who was “in over his head” but not a criminal, his attorney said.

There’s an entire discussion to be had here about whether or not the exam is a sufficient barrier to entry if it isn’t correctly weeding out the procrastinators and tax fraud-ers but we’ll save that for another day.

We found a CPAVerify listing for Peter Tarantino and it aligns with info here that says he works out of Roswell, GA. His website says he’s been in accounting since 1989, license lookup says he has been licensed since 2005. So he did eventually pass the CPA exam, just not before failing it many times over two decades. And clearly it didn’t do much good when it comes to celebrity taxes (again, allegedly).

The Chrisleys have denied the charges and are pinning all this bank fraud and tax evasion on a former employee of theirs named Mark Braddock who coincidentally is also the guy who ratted the Chrisleys out to the FBI for all this bank fraud and tax evasion after he was fired in 2012.

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