Maybe I’m the only one in the world who thought those dancing hamsters in the car commercials were animated. Turns out they were real people, actors dressed in hamster suits. Now one of them has been accused of collecting state disability benefits while he was still out working.
The accused, Leroy Barnes, is a backup dancer turned hamster actor in Los Angeles, California. He claims he was injured by a piece of ceiling that fell down while he was dancing in a theatrical production company back in June of 2010. He collected $51,000 in workers’ compensation for almost a full year, telling the state that he was not working between September 2010 and September of 2011.
That period of time was also the time that Barnes starred in at least one of the notorious Kia commercials. He performed with a rap group and worked as a backup dancer for Madonna and Chris Brown.
The state’s Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, said that falsely claiming disability is disrespectful to those who need it. The investigator of the case, Ted Koerner said that billions of dollars are paid out a year to people who never needed treatment.
Now while there are many other problems in workers’ comp that need to be addressed, fraud is an issue that is still too common for my taste. The workers’ comp and disability systems are in place for those who really cannot work and have no other way to get by. It is not for people looking for a little bit extra on the side.