Leroy Barnes (pictured), a dancing hamster on the wildly popular Kia car commercials, is reportedly facing disability fraud charges for collecting in excess of $51,000 in benefits over a year’s time, starting in September 2010. The actor/dancer who was reportedly arrested in March, allegedly lied to doctors that he was unemployed so they’d sign off on his collecting state disability insurance benefits, according to a press release by the California Department of Insurance (CDI).
CDI documents state that the 27-year-old performer was working as a dancer for John Cossette Productions four years ago, when he claimed to have been injured by a piece of ceiling that fell and struck him during a soundcheck.
The government agency reportedly discovered that during the time Barnes was supposed to be collecting disability payments, he had actually been working, and as a matter of fact, the famed Kia gig was one of his jobs.
The insurance agency also reportedly stumbled upon information that Barnes had been performing under the stage name of MoWii in a rap group called “The Rej3ctz,” where he helped to record the song “Cat Daddy.”
Watch “Cat Daddy” here:
CDI also claims the young man kicked up his heels as Hypnosis, the moniker he performed under, as a backup dancer for notable celebrities, such as Madonna, Kelly Rowland, and Chris Brown.
Collecting disability benefits when there is no injury is against the law, and according to Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, “Fraudulently collecting disability benefits is not only illegal, it disrespects legitimately injured Californians who are unable to work,” he said in the agency’s press release.
Barnes was arrested when the Los Angeles Police Department was conducting traffic stops. He was jailed, then released one day later on a $50,000 bond.