‘Dance Moms’ Star Abby Lee Miller Pleads Not Guilty In Fraud & $5M Fine Case

Deadline Hollywood

Two weeks after she was indicted on 20 counts of fraud with a possible five years behind bars and $5 million in fines, Abby Lee Miller today had her first day in court. In a short arraignment in the federal courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh, the pugnacious Dance Moms host paid a bond of $10,000 and entered a plea of not guilty. She also asked for a jury trial. No start date was announced for said trial, which was estimated by lawyers on both sides to need about 11 days to run. There are no restrictions on Miller’s domestic travel, but she must tell the feds if she wants to go overseas.

Entering the courthouse on Monday afternoon local time, Miller answered “Yes” when asked if she took the charges of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets and false bankruptcy declarations, among others, seriously. Having received an indictment from a grand jury on October 13 and announced it a week later, the U.S. Attorney and other feds also allege that Miller hid more than $755,000 in earnings from the Lifetime reality series produced by Collins Avenue Entertainment — including having payments made to her mother instead of her. The investigation into potential fraud began when the judge in the case saw Dance Moms on TV and wondered why no mention of the show had been made in Miller’s Chapter 11 filings since she first filed in 2010.

Monday’s packed hearing was originally scheduled for November 5, but Miller successful petitioned the court to move it to today as not to interfere with her filming of Season 6 of Dance Moms in L.A.

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Toronto: Woman charged in $150K plane ticket fraud

thestar.com

A woman is facing charges after a joint Toronto police-Travel Industry Council of Ontario investigation into a plane ticket fraud that allegedly scammed victims out of an estimated $150,000.

According to Toronto police, people booked airline tickets through a woman they believed was authorized to sell them. The woman, who promised low-fare plane tickets to the Philippines, accepted cash and credit card payments, but victims never received the tickets they paid for and had unauthorized charges on their credit card statements.

Toronto police arrested Lorna Natalie Arcega, 38, from the Philippines on Thursday and charged her with four counts of fraud over $5,000, two counts of fraud under $5,000, two counts of uttering a forged document, two counts of false pretence under $5,000, four counts of false pretence over $5,000, three counts of unauthorized use of credit card data and one count of possessing proceeds of a crime under $5,000.

She is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 23.

The Travel Industry Council of Ontario also laid charges against Arcega under the Travel Industry Act of Ontario, police said.

Police believe there may be more victims and are asking anyone with information to call police at (416) 808-2433 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477)

8 Ashley Madison users in US and Canada sue cheating website over data release

By Amanda Lee Myers

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES _ Eight people across the U.S. who registered to use Ashley Madison are suing the website for cheaters after hackers released personal and detailed information of millions of users, including financial data and sexual proclivities.

The lawsuits were filed between last month and Monday by Ashley Madison users in California, Texas, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee and Minnesota. They all seek class-action status to represent the estimated 37 million registered users of Ashley Madison.

The lawsuits, which seek unspecified damages, claim negligence, breach of contract and privacy violations. They say Ashley Madison failed to take reasonable steps to protect the security of its users, including those who paid a special fee to have their information deleted.

Last month, hackers infiltrated Ashley Madison’s website and downloaded private information. The details _ including names, emails, home addresses, financial data and message history _ were posted publicly online last week.

“Needless to say, this dumping of sensitive personal and financial information is bound to have catastrophic effects on the lives of the website’s users,” according to a lawsuit filed Friday on behalf of an anonymous Los Angeles man who created an account with Ashley Madison in March 2012.

“As a result of (Ashley Madison’s) unfair, unreasonable and inadequate data security, its users’ extremely personal and embarrassing information is now accessible to the public,” according to the lawsuit, filed by the Baltimore-based firm of Hammond Law.

Attorney Julian Hammond, who says his firm has litigated class-action lawsuits against companies like Google, Apple and Hulu, said the Ashley Madison breach is unprecedented in his experience.

The website’s users are worried not only about identity theft but about the embarrassment of the release of intimate sexual preferences. Even registering for the site without having an actual affair could put marriages in jeopardy.

“I haven’t seen anything like it,” Hammond said Tuesday.

A spokesman for Avid Life Media, the Toronto-based company that owns Ashley Madison, referred to previously released statements by the company calling the hack malicious and an “act of criminality.”

Avid Life on Monday began offering a $500,000 Canadian (US $378,000) reward for information leading to the arrest of members of a group that hacked the site.

“We will not sit idly by and allow these thieves to force their personal ideology on citizens around the world,” the company said in a statement last week.

The U.S. litigation follows a $578 million lawsuit filed in Canada last week, also seeking class-action status.

The hackers who took responsibility for Ashley Madison’s data breach have said they attacked the website in an effort to close it down as punishment for collecting a $19 fee without actually deleting users’ data.

On Monday, Canadian police said the hack has triggered extortion crimes and led to two unconfirmed reports of suicides.

The credit-card information of U.S. government workers _ some with sensitive jobs in the White House, Congress and the Justice Department _ was revealed in the breach. Hundreds of email addresses in the data release appear to be connected to federal, provincial and municipal workers across Canada.

canada-press

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