Kia Hamster Dancer Accused of Disability Fraud

Leroy Barnes allegedly received more than $51,000 in disability benefits during a time he taped at least one of the catchy commercials.

YouTube screenshot of Kia commercial with dancing hamster.
YouTube screenshot of Kia commercial with dancing hamster.

As a dancing hamster in television ad for Kia Soul cars, Leroy Barnes could really get down. But while Barnes was boogieing as a charming rodent before the cameras, investigators say he was really putting the moves on taxpayers, by committing disability insurance fraud to the tune of over $50,000.

Barnes, 27, allegedly received more than $51,000 in disability benefits from September 2010 to September 2011 after being struck by material that fell on him from a ceiling in June 2010, the state Department of Insurance announced today.

Barnes claimed that he was unemployed during the time he received the benefits, investigators said.

But while he was on disability, investigators say, he performed in at least one of the Kia ads as a costumed hamster with moves like Jagger. He also allegedly used aliases to perform in a rap group called The Rej3ctz and as a backup dancer for Madonna, Kelly Rowland and Chris Brown.

According to the District Attorney's Office, Barnes was charged with two counts of insurance fraud and a single count of perjury under oath.

Jail records indicate that Barnes was arrested in March and released on $50,000 bail.

--City News Service

Willie Lump June 06, 2014 at 07:07 AM
You can take the Hamster outa da hood, but ya can't take da hood outa da Hamster.
Penny Arévalo June 06, 2014 at 10:28 AM


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