LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A man who portrayed one of Kia’s wildly popular dancing hamsters in television commercials — while collecting disability benefits – pleaded no contest in a disability fraud case, prosecutors said Friday.
Leroy Barnes, 29, entered a no contest plea to one count each of insurance fraud and false statements regarding aid, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The dancer was sentenced to 90 days of electronic monitoring and ordered to perform 400 hours of community service.
Barnes was also ordered to pay more than $24,000 in restitution.
Prosecutors say Barnes received state disability benefits between September 2010 and September 2011 after being struck by material that fell on him from a ceiling in June 2010. Barnes claimed he was unemployed that year, but was actually working on the Kia commercials as a hip-hop hamster.
State investigators say Barnes also used aliases to perform in a rap group called The Rej3ctz and as a backup dancer for Madonna, Kelly Rowland and Chris Brown.
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