Abby Lee Miller, former host of Lifetime reality show Dance Moms, has spoken out about her sentencing Tuesday for bankruptcy fraud. She was sentenced to one year and one day in jail after pleading guilty last June.
Miller, 50, also took $120,000 worth of Australian currency into the United States without reporting it, to which she also pleaded guilty last year.
“A year and a day,” she said on Wednesday’s episode of Good Morning America. “It sounds like a movie title.”
Fighting back tears, Miller discussed her career as a kids’ dance coach and looked forward to getting out of prison.
“I have spent so much time and so much energy making other people’s children stars,” she said. “I didn’t have any children of my own. These were my kids and I raised them like they were my kids.”
When she eventually finishes her sentence, she says, she hopes to “be a smarter businesswoman and also to worry about myself.”
According to prosecutors, Miller hid the money in secret bank accounts. With the $120,000, she split the money into separate bags and had friends carry them in their luggage in the summer of 2014. (By law, all travellers carrying in excess of $10,000 must declare it at customs. Miller failed to do so.)
“I don’t want to hear that number anymore!” exclaimed Miller when asked about the funds, once again claiming her actions weren’t deliberate. “I wasn’t ever trying to hurt anyone.”
Looking back at her actions, she said she “would never have filed for bankruptcy, ever. I do not recommend it.”
“Throughout this case, Ms. Miller has taken both the allegations and the proceedings very seriously,” Miller’s lawyer Robert Ridge said in a statement. “This has been a challenging time for Ms. Miller. She appreciates the words of encouragement and support from around the world.”
She’s afraid of what could happen to her in prison, especially because she’s recognizable. “I’m afraid of being physically abused or raped,” she admitted. “I have to stay busy. If I thought about it every day, I’d just sit around and cry.”
She plans to “pretend [she’s] shooting a movie” while in jail, and act like she’s on location; she also wants to learn Spanish and “read more.” And for those of you who want a deep insider look at Miller’s experience, you’re in luck — she’s “already working” on a book.
Reports estimate that Miller will most likely spend less than a year behind bars, and be released after 10 months. She has to surrender herself in the next 44 days.