There was no dancing her way around this. On May 9, more than 10 months after pleading guilty to hiding $755,000 in earnings from a bankruptcy court and bringing in $120,000 worth of Australian currency without reporting it, a tearful Abby Lee Miller was sentenced to a year and a day in prison. The former Dance Moms star must also pay back the $120,000 she smuggled, plus a $40,000 fine, and she’ll be on probation for two years after her release. “You weren’t truthful,” Pittsburgh judge Joy Flowers Conti told her in court. “You got caught up in the world of fame and you lost your moral compass.”
NOTHING BUT TROUBLE
A lawyer for Abby said there were no plans to appeal, and the 51-year-old dance instructor insisted she felt “peaceful” and “relieved” that the ordeal was over. But in an exclusive post-sentencing interview with STAR, she expressed frustrations. Filing for bankruptcy in 2010 “is now the biggest regret of my life,” she says. “I should have fought the township on the taxes.” Her fortunes changed after Dance Moms debuted the following year — ultimately earning her the $755,000 she failed to report to the bankruptcy court (though she still maintains she didn’t “intentionally” hide the cash).
“I’m an open book,” Abby tells STAR. “The government could have saved a hell of a lot of money if they had just knocked on my door and said, ‘Hey, things don’t add up. What’s going on?’ ”
As for prison — she is expected to serve about 10 months — she’s tried to make light of it, saying, “I’m just going to pretend that I am shooting a movie.” Still, sources say she’s terrified of being bullied. “Sometimes that’s the way it is,” Abby says. “I’ve been told that if I’m at risk of being harmed, they will get me out of that situation.” She says she plans to use her time behind bars learning languages and working on new ideas: “They never really tapped into my brain on Dance Moms.”