LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A man who plays one of the dancing hamsters in Kia car commercials has been arrested on suspicion of insurance fraud.
Leroy Barnes, 27, lied and told doctors he was unemployed so they’d sign off on his collecting state disability insurance benefits, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. During that time he appeared in the Kia commercial as well as working as a backup dancer for Madonna, Kelly Rowland and Chris Brown.
In June 2010, Barnes was working as a dancer for John Cossette Productions when he was struck by a piece of ceiling during a sound check.
The dancer collected $51,000 in disability benefits from the state of California from September 2010 to September 2011.
Meanwhile, Barnes starred in a Kia commercial playing the role of a dancing hamster, the LAPD said. Along with working as a celebrity backup dancer, he performed in a rap group called The Rej3ctz and helped record the song “Cat Daddy.”
“Fraudulently collecting disability benefits is not only illegal, it disrespects legitimately injured Californians who are unable to work,” state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said.
Barnes was arrested March 20, 2014, when LAPD officers were conducting a traffic stop. He was released the next day from the L.A. County Valley Jail on $50,000 bail.