From the Political Blotter blog:
"Dancing hamster arrested on insurance fraud charges."
Best headline ever, no? It arrived in my inbox a few minutes ago atop a news release from California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, announcing the arrest of Leroy Barnes, 27, of Los Angeles, known as one of the dancing hamsters in Kia commercials.
Barnes faces insurance fraud charges related to his suspected collection of state disability insurance benefits under false pretenses.
"Fraudulently collecting disability benefits is not only illegal, it disrespects legitimately injured Californians who are unable to work," Jones said as solemnly as one can in a news release involving dancing hamsters.
Jones' release says that Barnes in June 2010, while employed as a dancer for John Cossette Productions, was struck by a piece of ceiling that fell on him during a sound check; Barnes then received state disability insurance benefits from September 2010 to September 2011, totaling more than $51,000.
But while he said he was unemployed during the year he received that money, detectives discovered evidence that he actually starred in a Kia car commercial playing the role of a dancing hamster, according to the news release. He also performed in a rap group called The Rej3ctz under the alias MoWii, assisting in recording the song "Cat Daddy," and also worked as a backup dancer for Madonna, Kelly Rowland and Chris Brown under the name Hypnosis.