A federal grand jury has indicted “Dance Moms” star Abigale “Abby” Lee Miller, 50, on 20 counts of bankruptcy fraud. The indictment alleged she concealed about $755,000 in assets and made false bankruptcy claims. If guilty, Miller could be sentenced to five years in prison for each count.
According to the indictment, Federal bankruptcy judge Thomas Agresti was ready to approve Miller’s Chapter 11 voluntary bankruptcy reorganization when he suddenly ordered a new hearing that required Miller to fully disclose her income and contracts.
The new hearing was prompted after he was channel surfing one night and saw ads for Miller’s upcoming, “Ultimate Dance Competition,” “The Maniac is Back,” and her appearance on “American Idol.” If it weren’t for the judge seeing the commercials, he said he would have never known about the contracts and additional income.
Miller is going to have to do some fancy footwork to get out of this one. Lying to a federal bankruptcy judge is a crime, which undermines a process that is designed to give honest, hardworking individuals who are overwhelmed by debt, a fresh financial start.
When Miller filed for voluntary bankruptcy reorganization, she listed about $325,000 in assets — mostly consisting of her dance studio in Penn Hills and a house in Davenport, FL— and listed about $356,000 in debts. But according to prosecutors, she hid more than $755,000 in income from her reality TV show, “Dance Moms,” several TV spin-offs and her merchandise and apparel sales.
Miller’s biggest debts were the mortgages on the two buildings, a $5,400 credit card debt and unpaid property and other taxes, according to court records. While she owed money to several vendors, the debt amounts owed were all less than the credit card debt.
During the three years of the bankruptcy proceeding, Miller was supposed to deposit her income into a special account and report that income to the court. Instead, she set up separate bank accounts and funneled her income from the TV show and other ventures into those accounts, prosecutors said.
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If you have any questions on this topic or are in a financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.