Abby Lee Miller is facing more money-related trouble.
The “Dance Moms” star was charged Monday with money laundering. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in August 2014, Miller brought foreign funds worth $120,000 from Australia to the U.S., without filing a report for international transportation of currency.
Miller is already facing more than 20 counts, including bankruptcy fraud, in a separate case, where she is accused of hiding $755,000 in assets from bankruptcy proceedings. She has pleaded not guilty. Pretrial motions are due June 30.
What is money laundering?
A quick and dirty definition of money laundering from The Free Dictionary is “the process of taking the proceeds of criminal activity and making them appear legal.” It is commonly associated with drug trafficking, but can be performed for any number of reasons, such as corporate embezzling.
According to HowStuffWorks, many money launderers transfer money through multiple countries, which makes it easier to hide its origin. It usually involves three steps:
- Placement: Depositing the money in a bank
- Layering: Wiring the money to an offshore account
- Integration: Sending that money back to a legitimate account
In the United States, a money laundering conviction comes with an average prison sentence of six years.
While most Americans traveling abroad probably won’t try to bring back the amount of money Miller is accused of laundering, they may get tangled up in money scams that could end in big federal trouble. The U.S. Department of State warns of several financial scams that originate overseas; it’s a good idea to brush up on these possible traps before taking a trip.
RELATED: 8 tourist scams to avoid
As a general rule, never wire money to someone you don’t know, and do not accept funds or luggage to bring back to the U.S. with you. If someone asks you to transport something overseas, report it to border authorities.