Abby Lee Miller joined the ranks of reality personalities who will have a felony record in federal court last Monday. The Dance Moms star pled guilty to one count of concealing bankruptcy assets and one count of structuring international monetary transactions. Once again the charges stem from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
Last fall, Abby was charged with failing to disclose (and attempting to hide) $775,000 worth of income from Lifetime and her related appearances and master classes that resulted in 20 separate charges. Basically, what Abby is alleged to have done is having payments she was due paid to her mother instead of herself to avoid paying taxes. I am assuming based on the charges that she did that a total of 20 times in amounts that totaled $775,000.
Deadline, who has had the exclusives on most of this court battle, provided new information on Tuesday reporting, “Miller on June 20 was slammed with a whole new case that threatened her with up to another five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The dance coach allegedly brought more than $10,000 into the country from Australia on August 7, 2014, without the required reporting.”
Deadline also reports, the following information about the new charge,“We have all this foreign cash,” a text from Miller was revealed in evidence today.[Monday] “Need a little money laundering.” Miller supposedly had “employees sneak” more than $120,000 into U.S. from Australia in their luggage in Ziploc bags.
Here is what freaks me out about this new revelation. How many employees are there with Abby when she goes to Australia? She might take one assistant. I doubt that she had a dozen of HER EMPLOYEES with her in Australia. You can only bring back $10,000 from another country (or to another country for that matter) without declaring it. So she would need 12 people and herself to carry back that much money. Is it not more likely that she had the Dance Moms and the girls carry back cash in their suitcases? So who tipped off the FEDS?
Abby is in the process of hammering out her plea deal. He lawyers are asking for a six month sentence while the FEDS have a sentence range of 24-30 months.
I have delayed writing about this because things have been very busy, as usual, during the first part of the week and I wanted to look in to another relevant case. Attorneys for Abby have stated that sentencing will not occur until United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit resolves United States v. Free. I have been searching for more information on this case that the attorneys claim to be relevant because they are both “zero loss bankruptcies.”
I did some research to understand what that term means exactly and came up empty. I am going to assume that they are using the term pretty much synonymously with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 11 business bankruptcy, the business owner is not asking for debts to be forgiven, but simply restructured so they can pay their debts over a longer time period (usually five years) which would result in no loss to the creditors.
I am going to future assume that US v Free is a similar case where the fraud did not result in a loss of revenue to debtors. In other words, unlike when the Giudices hid assets to avoid their liquidation and distribution to their creditors in a Chapter seven bankruptcy, in this Chapter 11 filing no creditors would face a loss in the Abby Lee fraud. It sounds like kind of a way to say that in Abby’s case, the fraud committee did not result in injury to others, thereby a lighter sentence is in order. Again, this is simply my interpretation of what it going on and wy they are waiting for the Appeals Court to rule on United States v. Free.
The Dateline reporter who went to court described Abby as appearing “seemingly impatient” during Monday’s proceedings. I can picture that clearly. Do you think she wore curlers to court?
Her attorneys Brandon Verdream and Robert Ridge released the following statement on her behalf:
“Events over the past several months have been extremely challenging for me, my family, my friends and most important, my students. Because of this, I made the very difficult decision to close the door on this chapter of my life by accepting responsibility for mistakes I have made along the way. I appreciate all the wonderful messages of support I’ve received from around the world and look forward to the future and getting back to my life’s work; helping young dancers fulfill their potential.”
From my perspective, Abby’s fraud was of a much lesser degree than the Giudice’s and involves only two counts. I would expect a much shorter sentence than what Teresa received. However, every judge is different and it will be heavily influenced by the plea deal which is still in the process of being worked out.
Until then, Abby has several Master Class events all over the country planned throughout the summer. The second half of season six is also filming now.