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How A TV Appearance Landed Dance Moms Star In Court

Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller has pleaded not guilty to trying to hide $US775,000 ($A1.09 million) from the Lifetime network reality show and spinoff projects in a bankruptcy fraud.

The 50-year-old reality TV star was free on bond after her federal court appearance in Pittsburgh.

Lawyers told the judge they expect a trial, yet to be scheduled, to last more than two weeks.

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 $US8,899 ($A12,473) in monthly income she was claiming.

The FBI and other federal investigators later determined Miller hid more than $US228,000 ($A319,573) in income from appearances on Dance Moms and a spin-off, Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition and nearly $US550,000 ($A770,902) more from personal appearances, dance sessions and merchandise sold through her website.

Miller is known for her outspoken, brash behaviour and pursuit of perfectionism from her students. Critics of Dance Moms accuse her of being emotionally abusive, and many episodes show her students in tears.


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