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Dancing Hamster Arrested, Charged With Disability Fraud in California

One of the Kia hamsters.

Image: YouTube

One of the dancing hamsters featured in a Kia Motors television commercials has been arrested and charge with defrauding the government of California.

Hamster 3

Technically, it was not the hamster that was arrested, but the man who performs inside one of the costumes,  27-year old Leroy Barnes.

Image: California Insurance Dept. Image source: California Department of Insurance

According to a statement from the California Department of Insurance, Barnes claimed that he was injured in June 2010 when a piece of ceiling fell off and hit his head while he was working as a dancer for John Cossette Productions. The state paid out more than $51,000 from September 2010 to September 2011.

However, an investigation discovered that Barnes had worked quite a bit while he was receiving the disability payments. In addition to starring as a dancing hamster in the KIA ad, authorities also claim that Barnes -- under the name Hypnosis -- worked as a backup dancer for Madonna, Chris Brown and Kelly Rowland. He is also reported to have helped to record the song "Cat Daddy" and performed with the rap group, Rej3ctz.

Image: YouTube Image source: YouTube

Barnes was arrested on May 20 following a traffic stop. He posted bail and was released. According to the California Department of Insurance, if he found guilty, Barnes faces 5 1/2 years behind bars and will be forced to pay the state almost $75,000 in restitution.

Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter


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