Dancer From Kia Hamster Ad Arrested on Insurance Fraud Charges
One of the dancers who appeared in Kia's hamster commercials has been charged with insurance fraud.
Leroy Barnes was arrested on March 20 by the LAPD at a traffic stop. He then spent the night in jail before being released on $50,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department website.
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Barnes, who has also worked as a backup dancer for Madonna and Chris Brown, was charged with workers' compensation fraud, according to a California Department of Insurance spokesperson.
Barnes is suspected of deceiving doctors about his employment status while receiving disability benefits, according to the California Department of Insurance. The dancer was struck by a piece of ceiling that fell on him during a sound check in June 2010. He received state disability insurance benefits totaling more than $51,000 from September 2010 to September 2011, stating he was not employed during that year. But, as detectives discovered, he starred in the Kia ad, worked as a backup dancer, performed in a rap group and assisted in recording the song "Cat Daddy," all while receiving disability benefits.
Barnes appeared in court on May 19 and has another appearance set for July 2.
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If convicted, Barnes faces six years in state prison and restitution of $74,287.69, which includes medical and legal fees and state disability insurance benefits.