William M. Welch
LOS ANGELES - Prosecutors said Monday that the woman who gave birth to octuplets and earned the nickname Octomom has been charged with welfare fraud, allegedly receiving nearly $30,000 from video and personal appearances while on public assistance.
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said that Nadya Suleman, 38, was charged Jan. 6. The felony complaint was released Monday.
The district attorney's office said Suleman has not been taken into custody but has been ordered to appear for arraignment in court Friday.
She faces two counts of perjury by false application for aid and one count of aid by misrepresentation, Lacey's office said in a statement. Prosecutors plan to ask that bail be set at $25,000.
If convicted, she faces a sentence of up to five years and eight months.
Suleman could not immediately be reached for comment. Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the prosecutor, said their office did not know if she has a lawyer or will request one be named for her when she appears in court.
Suleman, who has a total of 14 children, filed for public assistance in Lancaster, Calif., in January 2013, prosecutors said. They allege that she failed to disclose in applications and quarterly reports that she was paid for personal appearances and residual fees for videos during the first six months of last year.
According to the felony complaint, Suleman is accused of receiving $9,814 in CalFresh aid, the food aid program known elsewhere as the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), without disclosing her income. She is also accused of receiving $6,667 in aid she was not entitled to from CalWORKS, the welfare program that provides cash aid and services to eligible needy California families.
Suleman, from Orange County, Calif., gave birth to octuplets in January 2009. She already had six other children, also born as a result of in-vitro fertilization. Her birth of eight babies at one time stirred debate over fertilization procedures and prompted a state medical board investigation into her fertility doctor.
She appeared solo in an adult film released in 2012 and posed semi-nude for a British magazine. She filed for personal bankruptcy in 2012. She also made appearances as a topless dancer at a South Florida strip club.
In a call to "TMZ Live'' last year Suleman said she needs money to feed her 14 children, and there's nothing wrong with showing off her body for $10,000. "I'm not ashamed of doing it ... I feel as though no woman or man should be ashamed of their body," she said.
An account on Twitter that purports to be Suleman's has not been updated since last September. In the account profile, she describes herself as: "Model/mom and Model Mom.''
Her octuplets are the world's longest surviving set and turn 5 this month. They were born nine weeks premature, and one required nearly three months hospitalization after birth, but all are apparently healthy according to public accounts. Her other children range in age from 7 to 12.