Abby Lee Miller was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud and bringing $120,000 worth of Australian currency into the U.S. without reporting it. Here’s everything we know about the years-long case and what the former Dance Moms star, 50, has said about her time behind bars:
Miller Is Indicted
The investigation into Miller’s financial situation started after the judge in her 2010 bankruptcy case saw Dance Moms on TV and grew suspicious. The judge questioned why Miller’s paycheck from the popular Lifetime show wasn’t included in her filing, which claimed she made $8,899 per month.
The dance instructor was indicted in October 2015 by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on 20 counts of bankruptcy fraud, including concealment of bankruptcy assets and false bankruptcy declarations. She allegedly hid more than $755,000 earnings from her hit TV series, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She initially faced up to five years behind bars and $5 million in fines.
She Pleads Not Guilty
The Everything I Learned About Life, I Learned in Dance Class author first appeared in court in November 2015. She paid a $10,000 bond and entered a plea of “not guilty” on the charges of concealing the $755,000 earnings by having payments made to her mother instead of her. She also requested a jury trial.
Miller Is Hit With Another Charge
On June 20, 2016, Miller was slammed with an additional charge for bringing a large amount of money into the country without reporting it. She allegedly brought more than $120,000 worth of Australian currency into the U.S. by divvying up the cash into plastic bags and having friends carry them in their luggage.
She Appears in Court
The dance instructor received six extensions over seven months before her next court date. She finally appeared in court again on June 27, 2016, after her attorneys worked on a plea deal for several months, Deadline reported. Miller pleaded guilty to one count of concealing bankruptcy assets and one count of not reporting an international monetary transaction.
Miller Quits Dance Moms
She announced on Instagram on March 26 that she was quitting Dance Moms amid her fraud case drama. “I WILL NO LONGER TAKE PART IN DANCE MOMS,” she wrote. “FOR THE PAST SIX YEARS/SEVEN SEASONS I HAVE ASKED, BEGGED, AND EVEN DEMANDED CREATIVE CREDIT FOR ALL THE IDEAS, AWARD WINNING ROUTINES, THEMES AND COSTUMING – TO NOT AVAIL! … I JUST HAVE A PROBLEM WITH BEING MANIPULATED, DISRESPECTED, AND USED- DAY IN AND DAY OUT BY MEN WHO NEVER TOOK A DANCE LESSON IN THEIR LIVES AND TREAT WOMEN LIKE DIRT!”
A few days later, it was announced that Dancing With the Stars pro Cheryl Burke would replace Miller as the lead on Dance Moms.
Miller Is Sentenced to Prison
After several delays in the case, the Abby Lee Dance Company owner was sentenced on Tuesday, May 9, to 366 days in prison. She was also ordered to two years of supervised release and fined $40,000 along with a $120,000 judgment. “It’s a very serious situation when someone who files for bankruptcy isn’t truthful with the court,” a judge told Miller in court on Tuesday.
Miller Speaks Out
The TV personality opened up about the prison sentence on Good Morning America on Wednesday, May 10. “A year and a day. It sounds like a movie title,” she said. “We’re just going to pretend I’m shooting a movie and we’re on set and I’m there for 10 months and that’s the way it’s going to be.” During her time behind bars, she plans to read, learn Spanish and work on a new book.
“[I hope to] be a smarter businesswoman and also to worry about myself,” Miller continued. “I have spent so much time and so much energy making other people’s children stars. I didn’t have any children of my own. These were my kids and I raised them like they were my kids.”
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