With just more than a week before Abby Lee Miller was scheduled to finally submit pretrial motions in her indictment last October on 20 counts of fraud, the Dance Moms host has made a deal with federal prosecutors and will enter a guilty plea June 27.
While details were not revealed, sources tell Deadline the plea will likely see Miller escape significant jail time and pay a bulky fine in the case, which could have seen her behind bars for up to five years and paying out more than $5 million in fines.
“Events over the past several months have been extremely challenging for me, my family, my friends and most important, my students,” said Miller yesterday in a statement released by her attorneys Brandon Verdream and Robert Ridge. “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,” the Lifetime host concluded.
As of now, Dance Moms is set to return to the cable channel for the second part of its sixth season in the fall with Miller hosting.
The notice for Monday morning’s court appearance was issued by Judge Terrence McVerry after the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pittsburgh added a currency reporting charge to Miller’s already hefty legal load. In a new and related criminal case filed June 20, the widely traveled Dance Moms host is said to have brought more than $10,000 into the U.S. without the required reporting of the currency, which in this case was from Australia. With an up to 5-years in prison and $250,000 fine as the max for the offense, the feds want Miller to hand over around $120,000 – though it is unclear if that is just for foreign currency or a part of a larger deal around her fraud case. This matter will also be addressed at the June 27 hearing, which Gregory Melucci is handling for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Following the requirements of the case, Miller’s legal team also submitted a motion Monday requesting permission for her to travel to Pittsburgh today and lasting until June 27 for her “employment and to attend to personal affairs from June 22, 2016 through June 27, 2016.” Being that Dance Moms isn’t currently filming and Miller doesn’t have any of her masterclasses scheduled in the Pennsylvania city, the stated “employment” and “personal affairs” is to meet with her lawyers and federal officials and appear in court.
Miller is accused of hiding more than $755,000 in fees and other assets from the Collins Avenue Entertainment-produced and Lifetime-broadcast show in her ongoing bankruptcy court proceedings. Miller pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment November 2 in Pittsburgh.
The probe into Miller’s finances began three and a half years ago after the judge in her seemingly straightforward bankruptcy case came across Dance Moms one night on TV. Judge Thomas Agresti questioned why money from the show wasn’t included as a part of the ongoing bankruptcy, which had Miller claiming an income of $8,899 a month. The subsequent investigation saw Miller indicted on October 13, 2o15.
Despite being repeatedly mentioned in the indictment as paying funds for Miller to her mother, third-party vendors and others, Collins Avenue was not named as a defendant in the case, which has been delayed repeatedly due to the vast paperwork compiled by the feds for Miller’s legal team to go through.
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