Abby Lee Miller’s initial bankruptcy case was nearly complete in 2012. That was until Judge Agresti was surfing through the television channels. As reported by Deadline Hollywood, Agresti came across Dance Moms, a reality television show in which Miller is the star. Remembering the case, he began to question why the funds from Dance Moms wasn’t listed with Miller’s declared income. Yes, it was one night of lackadaisical channel surfing that led to the October 2015 indictment of Abby Lee Miller, who has waited until 2017 for sentencing.
In Abby Lee Miller’s sentencing memo, her lawyers claim that Miller’s quick rise to fame on the television series Dance Moms is to blame, playing her as the victim in her own trial. They are hoping for a light sentence this month.
“Ms. Miller was overwhelmed and under-equipped, and this led to her failure to respect the bankruptcy process. Her engagement of lawyers, accountants, and other professionals was haphazard, episodic, and at times, counter-productive. In addition to the consequences she is facing through this sentencing, Ms. Miller has suffered the consequence of a very public humiliation through obsessive media attention to these proceedings. However, in the aftermath of her indictment, Ms. Miller has surrounded herself with professionals, including legal counsel, accountants, and other specialists to ensure that she will not recreate the circumstances that led to this sentencing.”
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In June of 2016, when accused of withholding $775,000 of income from the television series Dance Moms, Abby Lee Miller pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud. In addition, she also pleaded guilty to a separate charge that occurred less than 12 months after her bankruptcy indictment. Miller allegedly separated thousands of Australian dollars into plastic bags, each containing less than the $10,000 that is required by law to be reported. She then handed the bags of money to her minor dance students, asking them to carry it into the country.
Prosecutors are pressing for 30 months behind bars, but Miller’s attorney is estimating a range from probation to six months in jail. According to People, the prospect of Abby Lee Miller’s sentencing terrifies her. The Dance Moms star claims to be “scared to death” as she attempts to prepare herself psychologically for a prison sentence.
Miller discussed her bankruptcy fraud case in a podcast. She talked about how her situation is a “fact of life, I made mistakes. I thought I was doing the right thing, I thought I had guidance. I thought I was on the up and up, and I wasn’t.” She called her state of affairs “humiliating and embarrassing.”
Miller is facing a sentence of up five years in prison and a potential $5 million in fines. The Dance Moms star admitted to feeling slightly alone in all of this. She admitted that her support system is around the world instead of around her. The reality of Abby Lee Miller’s sentencing is hitting her hard. Where she used to find support from the Dance Moms, now she is not so sure. Going it alone is scary enough, but facing prison without friends or family nearby is terrifying. Miller did, however, own up to the allegations.
“I did all the things I thought I should do, and I still screwed up, big-time. I’m not going to deny anything, they were my mistakes. I am taking full responsibility for them, I have to. There’s no passing the buck. If I did it wrong, I was wrong.”
Season 7 of Dance Moms is currently in production. As previously reported by Deadline Hollywood, since she originally entered “a now-reversed not guilty plea in November 2015,” as well as offering a $10,000 bond, Abby Lee Miller has been required to obtain court permission to travel.
Recent court documents, as reported by People, revealed that the reality television star had requested judicial consent for business travel. The listed locations were London and Newcastle, England. Miller’s lawyers wrote in the original request that she had made numerous business trips, which included international travel, since her initial 2015 indictment. Furthermore, she traveled to Mexico after her guilty plea.
Less than 10 days before the Abby Lee Miller sentencing date, a judge has approved her request for international travel. When required to appear, Miller has always come before the Court. The filing reads “there is no risk of Ms. Miller intentionally not returning for the second portion of hearing on February 24.” Her lawyers, as well as the approving judge, believe that she is not a flight risk.
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