Kia Dancing Hamster Reportedly Committed Disability Fraud

Kia hamster actor allegedly committed disability fraud Image Courtesy Of: Carma Auto Life

Leroy Barnes of Los Angeles, who plays a dancing hamster in the popular Kia commercials, has been accused of committing Social Security disability fraud. According to The Los Angeles Times, Barnes claimed $51,000 in disability benefits after a production set ceiling fell on him in 2010. The actor drew disability benefits from September 2010 to September 2011. However, Barnes’ doctor only approved his benefits request to cover 30-45 days while he recovered from a sprained ankle.



Actor Allegedly Committed Disability Fraud Before Commercial Fame

After working and appearing in a recent Kia commercial, Barnes was accused of fraudulently collecting disability payments from the SSA. Barnes potentially faces six years behind bars for his alleged crime and nearly $75,000 in restitution payments.

Defendant Pleads “No Contest” to Claim He Committed Disability Fraud

In January 2016, Barnes finally appeared before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Norm Shapiro. There, the actor pleaded no contest to charges that he committed disability fraud and gave false statements. As a result, Judge Shapiro ordered Barnes to:

  • Electric monitoring for 90 days via ankle bracelet
  • Perform 400 hours of community service
  • Pay more than $24,000 in restitution

Dancer Toured With Major Acts While He Also Reported Committed Disability Fraud

While Barnes received thousands in workers’ compensation payments, he failed to report significant earnings. Barnes worked with Madonna, Chris Brown and Kelly Rowland as a backup dancer on tours throughout 2010 and 2011. In addition, the actor filmed several high-profile Kia car commercials during that time. Each month, the actor told the California Department of Insurance he remained unemployed. For this reason, the state agreed to extend his monthly disability benefits until September 2011.

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