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Dance Mom star facing prison time for bankruptcy fraud

Bankruptcy Lawyer, Pennsylvania

Bankruptcy Lawyer, Pennsylvania

Abby Lee Miller, who is a former “Dance Moms” reality TV star was in court on Monday as defense attorneys tried to chip away about $775,000 of Miller’s income that prosecutors say she hid from a bankruptcy judge.

Miller reportedly made a bankruptcy fraud plea last year and the amount that settled on in court will determine the 51-year-old’s sentence, according to an article in U.S. News.

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“Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Melucci wants Miller to spend 2 1/2 years in prison, while her attorneys are hoping she’ll receive probation,” the article reads. “The hearing was scheduled to resume Tuesday.”

Miller’s attorneys argued that some of her sales from merchandise were split 55-45 with a partner and other income she received, including payments from special appearances, didn’t deduct some of her expenses for the trips.

Melucci pointed out that none of that matters because when someone files for bankruptcy, they are required to truthfully disclose all income so the court is able to ensure all creditors receive maximum value in a repayment plan that is set by the court.

“Melucci contends Miller repeatedly hid her true income and contracts for future income from her TV shows until her channel-surfing bankruptcy judge saw her on TV and concluded she must be making far more than the $8,899 in monthly income she initially declared,” the article reads.

Eventually, Miller confessed that about $288,000 of income she received that she failed to report. On top of that, federal investigators uncovered she had also hidden about $550,000 from personal appearances, selling merchandise, and from teaching dance sessions.

Miller filed for bankruptcy after defaulting on a $245,000 condominium mortgage in Florida and also a $96,000 mortgage on her dance studio that’s located in Penn Hills, a Pittsburgh suburb.

“Miller wanted the bankruptcy court to let her repay only $150,000 of the condominium mortgage at a lower interest rate and sought to repay her other debts in full but without interest or at lower rates,” the article reads. “The outraged bankruptcy judge ordered Miller to repay every penny.”

Miller’s defense argued that she didn’t disclose the TV income because her career was just taking off and she couldn’t guarantee her future earnings.