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Feds seek prison time for “Dance Moms” star Abby Lee Miller instead of probation

January 23, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Feds seek prison time for “Dance Moms” star Abby Lee Miller instead of probation

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On Friday, a prosecutor tried to convince a federal judge to sentence “Dance Moms” star Abby Lee Miller to prison time instead of probation for fraud.

Gregory Melucci, the Assistant U.S. Attorney, requested witnesses to support his assertion that the reality TV star tried to evade repaying hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt by hiding an income of about $775,000 from a bankruptcy court.

Miller’s lawyers will call witnesses when the hearing proceeds on February 24th, after which she’ll be sentenced.

Melucci is facing an uphill battle to convince U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti that Miller should get two to 2 1/2 years behind bars.

On the eve of Friday’s hearing, the judge filed tentative conclusions which essentially agreed with the defense that Miller deserves probation because no creditors lost money once the bankruptcy fraud was revealed, Deadline reported.

However, Melucci said the law permits Conti to sentence Miller based on the amount she tried to avoid repaying.

He added that the only reason Miller was trying to hide income was to avoid paying what she owed. “No one would rob a bank if he knew it had no money in it,” Melucci stated.

Feds seek jail time for “Dance Moms Star Abby Lee Miller

Miller filed for bankruptcy because she had defaulted on a $245,000 mortgage on a Florida condo and a $96,000 mortgage on her dance studio in a Pittsburgh suburb. She cited nearly $60,000 in other debts, including outstanding property taxes.

Abby Lee Miller wanted the bankruptcy court to allow her to repay only $150,000 of the condo mortgage at a lower interest rate — and at one point, she offered to forfeit the property altogether. She attempted to repay her other debts in full, but without interest or at lower rates.

The bankruptcy judge eventually required Miller to repay every penny.

In June, the woman pleaded guilty to intentionally hiding her income in financial disclosure statements filed with the bankruptcy court dating back to 2012.

“The entire Chapter 11 system is based on full disclosure, and if there’s not disclosure, the system falls apart,” U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee, Larry Wahlquist, said in court.

However, Miller regularly hid her actual income — as well as contracts for future income from her shows — until her bankruptcy judge saw her on TV and realized that Miller must be making much more than the $8,899 in monthly income she initially reported.

Wahlquist testified that the woman earned between $8,000 to $25,000 per episode as her popularity increased, and deposited money in nonapproved bank accounts to conceal her assets.

Miller eventually paid $288,000 in TV income she’d made. Federal investigators later concluded that she had hidden close to $550,000 more from personal appearances, dance sessions, and merchandise.

The dance mom made a significant admission on an unrelated charge that she also pleaded guilty to in June, in which she snuck $120,000 in foreign currency into the U.S. from Australia in 2014.

Abby Lee Miller agreed to forfeit that money, and in return, prosecutors won’t ask the judge to increase Miller’s sentence for using minors to help in that plot.

They have indicated in court documents that Miller split up the money and hid it in the suitcases of others in her group to avoid a federal law which requires people to report bringing more than $10,000 in foreign currency into the U.S.

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