Big Freedia, ‘Queen of Bounce,’ Sentenced

     NEW ORLEANS (CN) – Bounce star Big Freedia must pay $34,849 to the Housing Authority of New Orleans after pleading guilty to theft of government funds.
     U.S. District Judge Lance Africk sentenced Freddie Ross Jr., 38, aka Big Freedia to three years’ probation, including 100 hours of community service, in addition to the fine.
     Big Freedia was the recipient of Section 8 vouchers through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s low income housing and utilities assistance program that amounted to more than $21,700 per year, according to court documents. The vouchers were assessed to Ross based on information she provided in 2009 when she first applied for the benefits. At that time, Ross listed his monthly income as between $100 and $1,000 a month, court documents show. Based on these figures, Ross was accepted into the program and began receiving approximately $521 per month for his rental residence in New Orleans.
     After that, court documents say, Ross submitted recertification documents to the housing authority on a yearly basis through 2014. In his recertification forms, Ross falsely listed his annual income to amount to approximately $1,000 a month.
     In fact, during those years Ross applied for re-certification of housing assistance, he was actually making “considerable income through his entertainment and music businesses, including payments for performing concerts, starring in television programs, royalties, and the sale of merchandise bearing his likeness,” court documents say.
     Ross did not disclose this income to the housing authority or the existence of multiple bank accounts under his name and in the name of his several corporate entities.
     In total during those years, prosecutors say Ross received $34,849 in Section 8 benefits between January 2010 and November 2014. He used the aid for housing on Bayou Road in the Treme neighborhood and then for a place in the Gentilly neighborhood.

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