A 29-year-old man who portrayed a dancing hamster in car commercials pleaded no contest on Jan. 22 to insurance fraud, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
The defendant, Leroy Barnes, entered a no contest plea to one count each of insurance fraud and false statements regarding aid. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Norm Shapiro sentenced Barnes to 90 days of electronic monitoring. Barnes also was ordered to perform 400 hours of community service and to pay more than $24,000 in restitution.
The defendant, perhaps best known as one of the hip-hop hamsters in Kia car commercials, received state disability benefits between September 2010 and September 2011. During that time, Barnes defrauded the state by claiming he wasn’t employed although he was working on the Kia commercials, Deputy District Attorney Richard Gallegly said. The case was investigated by the California Department of Insurance.
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