The California mother of 14 known as "Octomom" for giving birth to octuplets almost five years ago has again made headlines. Nadya Suleman has been charged with welfare fraud, which is a felony. If convicted of double counts of perjury by false application and a count of receiving aid by misrepresentation, she could be sentenced to almost six years in prison. The charges stem from Suleman allegedly accepting $30,000 for personal appearances and videos while she received public assistance. In 2012, she filed for personal bankruptcy. Suleman starred in an adult film where she appeared alone, danced topless in a Florida strip club and also posed half naked in a magazine published overseas.
The felony complaint alleges that Suleman accepted $9,814 in CalFresh aid, known in other states as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Additionally, she took in $6,667 cash aid from CalWORKS, California's welfare program responsible for supplying cash and other services to needy families who meet their eligibility requirements.
A representative for the Los Angeles district attorney's office stated that the 38-year-old mother had not been taken into custody, although she was charged on Jan. 6. She faces an upcoming arraignment on the charges. It is unknown whether she is represented by counsel or will be appointed a public defender by the court.
In addition to the almost five-year-old octuplets, Suleman's remaining six children range in age from seven to 12. All were born as a result of in vitro fertilization.
Like other white collar crimes, welfare fraud is a serious allegation. Ramifications of a conviction in the Suleman case could impact her custody of her minor children and put her behind bars. Should you find yourself in a similar predicament, you should refrain from giving any statements to police or prosecutors and retain experienced, competent counsel who can staunchly defend you in a court of law or negotiate a plea bargain with the court to help you avoid jail time.
Source: USA Today, "Suleman aka 'Octomom' is charged with welfare fraud" William W. Welch, Jan. 15, 2014