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"Dance Moms" star accused of bankruptcy fraud

Certain readers will be familiar with the hit reality television show "Dance Moms." The show featured a dance studio located in western Pennsylvania, and followed the dramatic interaction between the owner of the studio and many of the parents who brought their children there for dance instruction. The 50-year-old woman who owns and runs that studio has been accused of bankruptcy fraud.

The woman sought bankruptcy protection for her business, Abby Lee Dance Company, in 2010. In a recent report, no details were given as to the financial state of the business, or the income and liabilities that were included within the bankruptcy filing. "Dance Moms" is currently in the fifth season on the television network Lifetime.

A bankruptcy judge was scanning through the channels when he came across an episode of the show. The program led him to believe that the studio owner might have more assets than were claimed within the bankruptcy case. That led to an investigation, which eventually led to the fraud charges.

The woman now stands accused of bankruptcy fraud, concealing bankruptcy assets and making false bankruptcy statements. Those charges are related to income she received from her participation on the television show, as well as spin-off shows. In addition, she is alleged to have received income from online merchandise sales and dance events.

The Pennsylvania "Dance Moms" star may be able to avoid a conviction on these federal fraud charges if she is able to document the full scope of her income, assets and liabilities. In many cases, a business owner may appear to be in solid financial standing, when the reality is far less rosy. This is especially true within the realm of reality television, where "stars" often earn high levels of income within a short period of time, and may have no skills to manage or grow that money.  

Source: phillyvoice.com, "Pennsylvania 'Dance Moms' reality TV star Miller indicted on bankruptcy fraud charges", Barbara Goldberg, Oct. 14, 2015

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