Kia hamster actor charged with disability fraud

This undated Los Angels Police Department booking photo provided by the California Department of Insurance, shows Leroy Barnes, who played a dancing hamster in Kia car commercials and was a backup dancer for Madonna. (AP Photo/California Department of Insurance)
This undated Los Angels Police Department booking photo provided by the California Department of Insurance, shows Leroy Barnes, who played a dancing hamster in Kia car commercials and was a backup dancer for Madonna. (AP Photo/California Department of Insurance)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who played a dancing hamster in Kia car commercials and was a backup dancer for Madonna has been charged with California disability fraud.

The California Department of Insurance says 27-year-old Leroy Barnes of Los Angeles collected $51,000 in workers compensation benefits in 2010 and 2011. Barnes claimed he was disabled when a piece of ceiling fell on him.

But the department says he made at least one Kia commercial, performed in a rap group, assisted in recording the song “Cat Daddy,” and was a backup dancer for Madonna, Kelly Rowland and Chris Brown.

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

Insurance department spokeswoman Nancy Kincaid said she didn’t know if he had a lawyer.

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