Former “Dance Moms” star Abby Lee Miller, who pleaded guilty last year to concealing $775,000 from a bankruptcy court after filing for Chapter 11, was sentenced Tuesday to a year and a day in federal prison.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that attorneys for Pittsburgh native Miller, 50, had requested probation but that U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti explained she wanted to send a message to respect bankruptcy laws.
Miller, who has dance studios in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, and in West Los Angeles, told the court, “I am very sorry for what I’ve done.” Deadline.com additionally reported that Miller’s attorneys have no plans to appeal and that Miller said outside the courtroom, “I feel relieved; I feel peaceful.”
The judge also sentenced Miller to two years’ probation and levied both a $40,000 fine and a $120,000 money judgment covering the undeclared amount she brought into the United States from trips to Australia.
“You weren’t truthful; even when you knew you were supposed to tell everything, you still weren’t truthful,” Conti told Miller, according to Deadline, adding, “Somehow you got caught up in the world of fame and you lost your moral compass.”
Neither “Dance Moms” production company Collins Avenue Entertainment nor cable network Lifetime commented on the sentencing. Miller quit her reality show in late March, telling E! News, “Lifetime and Collins Avenue and everybody they employ has zero respect for me. Zero respect for my business.”
The fraud charges had arisen seemingly by chance. During Miller’s bankruptcy proceedings, which began shortly before “Dance Moms” debuted, presiding judge Thomas Agresti happened across the new show while watching television and suspected that the $8,899 monthly income Miller was reporting did not include money from the series. FBI investigators later learned that among other evasion tactics, Miller had arranged to have some of her “Dance Moms” income paid to her mother.
In October 2015, Miller was indicated on 20 counts of fraud. She pleaded not guilty the following month, but eventually entered a guilty plea on June 27, 2016.