California residents may know who Abby Lee Miller is thanks to her role on the Lifetime network reality series ‘Dance Moms” and other spinoff shows. On June 27, Miller pleaded guilty to two fraud charges related to her Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Miller was charged with structuring an international monetary transaction and concealing bankruptcy assets.
The week prior to her guilty plea, Miller issued a public statement in which she acknowledged that she had made ‘mistakes.” According to authorities that investigated Miller, she tried to conceal income totaling $775,000 while she was going through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. The income was reportedly earned from Miller’s television work.
Authorities believe that Miller attempted to hide over $120,000 in cash while she was traveling by dividing the money between people in her group. The currency was allegedly stashed in various people’s bags so that Miller would not have to report it. Miller could be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail for her charges, but her lawyers believe she will spend no more than six months behind bars. Sentencing guidelines recommend between 24 and 30 months in jail.
Some people are charged with fraud after unintentionally omitting information in a bankruptcy filing or tax return. As fraud is a specific intent crime, a criminal defense attorney can often attempt to get the charges reduced or dismissed by asserting the lack of that required element. If a defendant has no prior history of financial fraud or dishonest business practices, this could help as well.
Source: CBS News, ““Dance Moms” star pleads guilty to fraud,” June 27, 2016