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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
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‘Queen of Bounce’ Pleads Guilty to Section 8 Theft

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - Bounce artist and reality TV star Big Freedia pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to stealing nearly $35,000 in Section 8 low-income housing vouchers between 2011 and 2014.

Freddie Ross Jr., 38, also known as Big Freedia "Queen of Bounce," thanked his fans for their support as he walked into the courtroom alongside his TV crew Wednesday morning.

His purple hair was long and straight over a black velvet jacket. On his feet were sequined shoes, with glitter polish on his fingernails.

"No preference," he said in response to U.S. District Judge Lance Africk's question on how he should address Freddie Ross Jr. as the arraignment proceedings began.

Big Freedia, who rose to new heights of fame recently after appearing in Beyonce's "Formation" video, acknowledged during the proceedings and signed paperwork attesting that between 2011 and 2014, years when he was making more than the $21,000 low-income threshold for housing assistance, he continued to tell the government officials he made less than $14,000 annually to receive housing vouchers.

During the time Ross accepted housing vouchers he did not disclose "considerable income" he made through his entertainment and music businesses, nor did he disclose the multiple bank accounts he held under his own name and in the names of his several corporate entities, according to government documents.

"This crime is much more than an oversight," Judge Africk told Big Freedia. "Do you understand that?" the judge asked during proceedings.

"Yes," Ross said.

Afterward, Ross's attorney, Tim Kappel, said Big Freedia wants to make amends with the government and move forward.

"As we have acknowledged," Kappel said, "this is an incredibly unfortunate situation for which my client unequivocally accepts responsibility. Freedia has cooperated with the government at every stage of their investigation, and his guilty plea today is another step forward in putting this matter behind us."

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