Dancing Kia Hamster Actor Faces Disability Fraud Charge

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The dancing hampster seen in Kia car commercials.

    A man who plays a dancing hamster on Kia commercials has been arrested in connection with falsely claiming disability benefits.

    Leroy Barnes, 27, of Los Angeles, (pictured) is suspected of deceiving his doctors about his employment status while he received disability benefits, according to a statement from the California Insurance Department.

    “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.

    Barnes was arrested last month and is free on bail. He couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

    Insurance department spokeswoman Nancy Kincaid told the Associated Press that she didn't know if he had a lawyer.