“A reality television performer has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets, and false bankruptcy declarations, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.”
So begins a press release issued Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015 by the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Pennsylvania.
The press release adds, “The 20-count indictment, returned on Oct. 13, named Abigale Lee Miller, 50, as the sole defendant.” Miller is the star of Lifetime’s “Dance Moms,” which has been renewed for a sixth season.
The press release also says, “According to the indictment, after filing a Petition to Reorganize 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 spinoff TV shows, as well as from Masterclass dance sessions and merchandise and apparel sales. The indictment alleges 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 underreported certain other business income. 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.”
Reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Judge Thomas Agresti was about to approve her bankruptcy reorganization plan two years ago when he chanced upon her performances on national TV and realized she had lucrative contracts she wasn’t telling anyone about.”
The newspaper adds, “‘I realized that there’s an awful lot of money coming into this plan, this case,’ the judge said during a 2013 hearing, ‘and it hasn’t been disclosed.’ Law enforcement thought so, too, and now Ms. Miller, formerly of Penn Hills, is under indictment.”
To read the actual indictment, please click here.
Notes the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “The law provides for a total sentence of five years in prison, and a fine of $250,000 or both for each count of the indictment. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
“Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
“The United States Trustee, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.”