The reality TV personality has been involved with filing false bankruptcy claims all the while hiding assets and contract information.
Abby Lee Miller, 50, from Pittsburgh is a recognized name in the TV world. Having competed in Dance Moms and various other shows, the woman has quite a personality aura about her. That still does not excuse the fraud that she seems to have been committing for the past few years.
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Judge Thomas Agresti was about to approve her bankruptcy reorganization plan two years ago when he chanced upon her performances on national TV. While channel surfing he realized that she had lucrative contracts she wasn't telling anyone about, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
He found out that she was featured not only on Dance Moms but also on Ms. Miller’s “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition,” ads for “The Maniac is Back” and her appearance on “American Idol.” This brought him to the conclusion that there was an awful lot of money coming into the plan, the case and it hadn’t been disclosed; the judge said during a 2013 hearing.
A grand jury on Tuesday charged her with 20 counts of bankruptcy fraud, concealing assets and making false bankruptcy declarations following an investigation by the FBI, IRS and postal inspectors.
Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Akeia Conner detailed that Concealing assets from the Court and not paying taxes is a gross violation of civic duty and IRS Criminal Investigation will work diligently with our law enforcement partners to pursue those who do so.
Special Agent in Charge of Federal Bureau of Investigation's Pittsburgh Division, Scott S. Smith said in a statement, "Federal bankruptcy proceedings can be a lifesaver for honest individuals overwhelmed by debt resulting from any number of legitimate reasons, but allegations of fraud and abuse threaten the integrity of the bankruptcy process and the public's trust in it. We take our responsibility to pursue allegations of bankruptcy fraud seriously."
According to the indictment, after filing a Petition to Re-organize her dance studio in December, 2010, Miller then schemed to defraud the bankruptcy court by concealing income she earned between 2012 and 2013 from her performances on the reality TV show “Dance Moms” and related spin-off TV shows.
She also hid her assets from her appearance on Masterclass dance sessions and merchandise and apparel sales. The indictment puts allegations that Miller created bank accounts to hide the income, and instructed others to conceal certain income from the bankruptcy court and Trustee.
It is also alleged that Miller made numerous false declarations in monthly operating reports which did not report certain income or under-reported certain other business income.
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The indictment further alleges Miller concealed income totaling approximately $755,492.85 from the Trustee and creditors, and gained favorable terms to restructure debt from her fraudulent acts. Ms. Miller might be facing the penalty for a total sentence of five years in prison, and a fine of $250,000 or both for each count of the indictment.