Dancing Hamster Arrested On Insurance Fraud Charges

Leroy Barnes of Los Angeles, known as one of the dancing hamsters in Kia commercials, was arrested on insurance fraud charges related to his alleged fraudulent collection of state disability insurance benefits. Barnes is suspected of deceiving his doctors about his employment status while he receiving disability benefits.

"Fraudulently collecting disability benefits is not only illegal, it disrespects legitimately injured Californians who are unable to work," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

In June 2010 while employed as a dancer for John Cossette Productions Barnes was struck by a piece of ceiling that fell on him during a sound check. Barnes received state disability insurance benefits from September 2010 to September 2011, totaling more than $51,000. Barnes stated that he was not employed during the year he received state disability insurance. Detectives discovered evidence that Barnes was actually working while collecting disability benefits.

While receiving disability benefits, Barnes starred in a Kia car commercial playing the role of a dancing hamster. He also performed in a rap group called The Rej3ctz, under the alias MoWii, assisted in recording the song Cat Daddy, and worked as a backup dancer for Madonna, Kelly Rowland, and Chris Brown under the name Hypnosis.

•   Booking photo available.

•   Arrested March 20, 2014 by LAPD on a traffic stop and booked in the LA County Valley Jail.

•   Barnes pleaded not guilty and is represented by Public Defender Mearl Lottman (bar no. 137083).

•   If convicted, Barnes faces five years, six months in jail and restitution of $74,287.69, which includes medical fees, legal fees and State Disability Insurance benefits.

•   Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case.

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