NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Bounce queen Big Freedia has been charged with theft of government funds.
The entertainer, whose real name is Freddie Ross Jr., illegally has been charged with unlawfully taking money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to a bill of information filed in federal court this week.
The document gives little additional information, other than that the alleged crime took place from 2010 through 2014, but various media sites have reported the issue was that Ross had misrepresented income in order to stay in public housing. The total theft reportedly amounted to approximately $34,000.
In a statement given to Pitchfork Tuesday, Ross explained the "incredibly unfortunate situation," saying she was on public assistance for many years before her financial situation changed. "I quickly found myself in a new economic structure and, frankly, knew little about how to handle my money. ... It was an oversight but one that I take full responsibility for," Ross reportedly told the music journal.
She said that from the time she was first contacted by federal agents she has fully cooperated with them to repay what amounts to $34,000.
"Housing vouchers are a vital lifeline for many people I know in New Orleans and around the country, including struggling artists," Ross said. "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 part of the solution in this area," Ross continued, "and am looking forward to putting this matter behind me."
Fuse recently renewed a fifth season of the reality TV show Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce. The show's fourth season was reportedly its best-rated yet among viewers between the ages of 18 and 34.
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