PITTSBURGH (AP) — “Dance Moms” star Abby Lee Miller plans to accept responsibility for federal charges filed in Pittsburgh accusing her of failing to report Australian currency she brought into the country in 2014 and bankruptcy fraud charges, she said in a statement Tuesday.
Miller issued the statement after she was contacted by The Associated Press regarding a charge filed Monday by federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh. The charge accuses Miller of violating a law requiring people to report bringing more than $10,000 worth of foreign currency into the country in August 2014. The documents also seek to have her forfeit at least $120,000, though prosecutors wouldn’t say whether that’s the value of Australian currency she failed to report.
Miller was first charged last fall with illegally trying to hide $775,000 worth of income from the Lifetime network reality show and spinoff projects during her Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The emailed statement, relayed through her Pittsburgh-based defense attorney Robert Ridge, strongly suggests she’ll plead guilty though no such proceedings have been scheduled, according to online federal court records.
“Events over the past several months have been extremely challenging for me, my family, my friends and most important, my students. 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,” the statement said.
Asked about an eventual guilty plea, Ridge said, “I can’t really say at this point because nothing’s been scheduled. But you can tell with the statement’s intent she does intend to resolve the charges.”
Ridge said any such resolution would involve the new currency reporting charge and the bankruptcy-related charges filed last year.
“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,” Miller’s statement concluded. Her publicist, Sheryl Main, said Miller’s statement about “this chapter” of her life refers only to the criminal charges, not her work on “Dance Moms.”
Miller is known for her outspoken, brash behavior and pursuit of perfectionism from her students. Critics of “Dance Moms” accuse Miller of being emotionally abusive, and many episodes show her students in tears. The show was based out of her dance studio in Penn Hills, a Pittsburgh suburb, which is why the charges were filed in Pittsburgh even though Miller now lives in Los Angeles.
The investigation began when a channel-surfing bankruptcy judge saw Miller on TV in December 2012 and figured she had to be making more than the $8,899 in monthly income she was claiming.
The FBI and other agencies eventually determined Miller hid more than $228,000 in income from appearances on “Dance Moms” and a spin-off, “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition” and nearly $550,000 more from personal appearances, dance sessions and merchandise sold through her website,www.abbyleedancecompany.com .
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