New Orleans bounce artist and reality star, Big Freedia, is in trouble for lying about income in order to receive Section 8 vouchers. The feds say that between 2010 to 2014, Freedia, stole over $1,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, though the exact amount was not released.
The “Queen of Bounce” who has had a reality show on Fuse TV since 2013, was officially charged with government theft Tuesday (March 1).
Freedia later confirmed the allegations, but says the whole thing was an “over sight,” not intentional. “This is an incredibly unfortunate situation,” Freedia said in a statement, per WWL TV. “I was on subsidized housing for many years before my financial situation changed. I quickly found myself in a new economic structure and, frankly, knew little about how to handle my money.
“It wasn’t until recently (after I had stopped receiving housing vouchers) that it became very clear I had received assistance to which I wasn’t entitled. It was an oversight – but one that I take full responsibility for.”
The statement adds that housing vouchers “are a vital lifeline for many people I know in New Orleans and around the world, including struggling artists.” Freedia however, is fully cooperating with the government and already paying the money back.
“I truly believe there needs to be more programs for artists and musicians to teach basic financial literacy and planning. Coming from where I came from, I know that I could have used that kind of assistance. I’m exploring ways to be a part of the solution in this area and am looking forward to putting this matter behind me.”
Freedia was born male and performs as a woman, but does not identify as transgender. The federal charge is under Freedia’s birth name, Freddie Ross Jr., and refers to the New Orleans native as male.
If convicted Freedia faces a maximum sentence of more than a decade in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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