It's been an interesting week for reality TV's most famous fundamentalists.
Following the unexpected rumors online that maligned first-born Josh Duggar's home had been raided by the FBI, new details poured in that painted a slightly different picture.
Fans soon learned that Josh's home had not been raided, but that his parents' house, the so-called Duggar compound in Arkansas, had been stormed by Homeland Security.
It seemed too bizarre to be true, but it looks like it is, at least in part.
A number of reputable media outlets are covering the story, the feds have commented on it, and it sure looks as though the Duggars really are under some sort of investigation.
According to new details published by celebrity news sites TMZ and The Ashley's Reality Roundup, the family may very well be in some legal hot water - Josh in particular.
Here's what we know so far - and what surprises we've uncovered.
The Duggars are always under scrutiny, and many rumors about them on the Internet are baseless. But in this, it's looking like they might be in some serious legal trouble. It seems the famous family is under investigation by the federal government.
At first, reports over the weekend claimed that Josh Duggar - the first of Jim Bob and Michelle's 19 children, and the father of five (soon to be six) himself - saw his home and business raided by the FBI.
The Black Sheep
Purported causes for the investigation ranged from human trafficking to tax fraud. Keep in mind that neither of those theories were confirmed, but this is Josh Duggar we're talking about. His checkered past is well documented and still radioactive among fans. As such, a lot of people weren'y surprised by the news.
It Never Ends
Josh has been making life hell for his family and sparking outrage among fans for years. And we're not just talking about the fact that he molested four of his sisters while still in his teens (although that would certainly be enough to tarnish his reputation for life).
It's almost been overlooked by the press, but for the past four years, at least, Josh's life has been an almost endless parade of lawsuits. He's currently being sued for real estate fraud.
Yeah, You Can't Do That
For example, an Arkansas man claims that Josh sold him property that actually belonged to a third party who was unaware of the deal. Needless to say, that's highly illegal.
So when word got out that Josh's home had been raided, fans weren't exactly stunned. But we soon learned that wasn't the case.
Rather, it was the home belonging to Jim Bob and Michelle - the so-called Duggar compound - that had been stormed. And it was the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that executed the raid, not the FBI.
Obviously, there's a lot we don't know, but the agency itself has confirmed that this is in fact ongoing. “[I do not dispute the information that] HSI was present [at the Duggar home] pursuant to an on-going federal criminal investigation," an HSI spokesperson told the local NBC affiliate, KNWA. "However, given that there are no charges filed, HSI doesn’t discuss the nature of any type of investigation until, if or when, charges are filed. I can’t discuss the reason for our being there.”
The Duggars rarely respond to rumors in the media, but reports of a raid at Jim Bob and Michelle's home were so widespread that the family felt the need to issue a statement through their spokesperson, Chad Gallagher.
“We were shocked to see a news report today state that our home was raided by federal law enforcement agencies," Gallagher told People magazine. "This is not true."
"To the Best of Our Knowledge"
“To the best of our knowledge, it’s also not true that any member of our family is the target of any investigation of any kind,” the Duggars’ statement continued. That phrasing left many eyebrows raised in Arkansas and beyond.
He's Not Wrong About That
“Living a life in the public’s eye has taught us that it is best not to reply to every rumor and piece of ‘fake news’ that is circulated online. It would be a full-time job if we attempted to do so," Gallagher said on Tuesday.
The Last Word?
“However, because of tonight’s media coverage we thought it is important to address this rumor with you," Gallagher concluded. "Thank you for the love and support that we can always count on in you our fans and friends.”
Jedidiah "Jed" Duggar - the 20-year-old son of Jim Bob and Michelle who recently launched a campaign for Arkansas State Representative - was far more cryptic in his comments after the news broke.
Thus Spake Jed
“I don’t live there and I am not aware of any investigation,” the young politician told the press. (Editor's Note: He doesn't live there? People can move out of the compound before they get married off?)
The fact that the family was quick to comment on this at all indicated at least some level of concern, but clearly, the Duggars thought that their statement would be the last word on the matter. And clearly, they were wrong.
Not Out of the Woods
On Wednesday, KNWA clarified their story by posting the HSI agent's full statement, along with audio of his remarks as verification of what's actually going on in Northwest Arkansas.
This Sounds Bad
“I do not dispute the information you’ve obtained, that HSI was present there, pursuant to an on-going federal criminal investigation.” the HSI spokesperson said. “I can basically confirm that we were there pursuant to an ongoing federal investigation and leave it at that.”
The Black Sheep is Back
Also on Wednesday, HSI spokesperson Bryan Cox stated that it was a Duggar business, not a Duggar home that was raided. The business was located in the 14000 block of Wildcat Creek Road in Springdale, Arkansas, meaning it's likely the car dealership owned by Josh.
On the Money
“I do not dispute the information you’ve obtained. That is the location that we were," Cox told the media. "I can’t speak to the status of any ongoing investigation. But, I do not dispute that we were present at that specific address,”
Black Sheep to the Slaughter?
Asked if the investigation was targeting Josh specifically, Cox replied, “I can’t speak to any individual that may be under investigation. So I can confirm that we were at that address. And spoke to individuals at that location. But I can’t discuss any individuals by name.”
Asked if the activity on Josh's property was a raid or simply a search, Cox answered, “I’m not able to speak specifically, but in a general sense, when a federal law enforcement agency is at a location pursuant to an 'ongoing federal investigation,' there is a very narrow set of circumstances that would apply, and I would say that our presence is consistent with that. I’m just not able to discuss the exact nature.”
Closed For Business
On Wednesday, KNWA posted a photo of Josh's car lot. The gate was locked and all of the cars had been removed from the property.
Derick Speaks Out
Jill Duggar's husband, Derick Dillard, has been estranged from his in-laws for quite some time, and some fans think he was issuing a warning about the impending raid during a Twitter rant last month in which he put the family on blast.
The Truth About Jim Bob?
During a tirade in which he accused Jim Bob Duggar of pilfering his kids' bank accounts - seriously - Derick assured fans that “a storm is inevitable” with regard to the family's finances.
More to Come ...
Needless to say, a lot of questions remain unanswered here. We'll continue to keep you updated on this bizarre turn of events as more information becomes available.