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‘Dance Moms’ star Abby Lee Miller indicted on fraud charges after allegedly concealing income

Dance Moms’ Abby Lee Miller may not be deciding who’s on top of the pyramid anymore.

The 50-year-old reality TV star has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on bankruptcy fraud charges for concealing more than $755,000 in secret accounts following false claims about her income, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

Miller was reorganizing her dance studio in December 2010 when her lawyer, Robert Ridge, said that she entered into bankruptcy in an effort to “save her dance studio.”

The investigation started when a bankruptcy judge saw Miller on TV in December 2012 and assumed she was making more than $8,899, which is what she was claiming to make. However, Miller had actually signed deals to make up to $15,000 per episode of Dance Moms and $25,000 for every episode of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition. Additionally, she was receiving income from public events, merchandise and apparel and dance sessions, according to the indictment.

Miller was not arrested. She will be mailed a court summons to appear before a federal magistrate Nov. 5, according to Associated Press. 

U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said in a statement Wednesday that “criminal prosecution is appropriate when debtors corrupt the bankruptcy process through deceit and lies before the court,” PEOPLE reports. Miller is charged with bankruptcy fraud, false bankruptcy declarations and concealment of bankruptcy assets.

Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Division, Scott S. Smith, said that the “responsibility to pursue allegations of bankruptcy fraud” is taken seriously.  “Federal bankruptcy proceedings can be a lifesaver for honest individuals overwhelmed by debt resulting from any number of legitimate reasons, but allegations of fraud and abuse threaten the integrity of the bankruptcy process and the public’s trust in it,” Smith said.

If Miller is convicted, she could serve up to five years in prison and receive a fine of $250,000 for each count of the indictment. The fines would total up to $5 million.

Dance Moms premiered on Lifetime in 2011. Since then, the network has aired three spinoffs. And the latest season of the series has moved Miller and her dancers to Los Angeles, where she has opened a dance studio, E! reports.

About Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer is a freelance writer, who focuses on anything from lifestyle blogging to hard news, and dancer. Beyond Youth Independent, she has written for sites such as Natmonitor.com, CheekyChicago.com and FamilyFocusBlog.com.
Contact Meredith: meredith.rodefer@youthindependent.com