Kia Dancing Hamster Arrested on Insurance Fraud Charges in California

Jun 5, 2014

Kia Dancing Hamster

From the California Department of Insurance . . . Dancing hamster arrested on insurance fraud charges

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Leroy Barnes, 27, of Los Angeles, known as one of the dancing hamsters in Kia commercials, was arrested on insurance fraud charges related to his alleged fraudulent collection of state disability insurance benefits. Barnes is suspected of deceiving his doctors about his employment status while he receiving disability benefits. 

“Fraudulently collecting disability benefits is not only illegal, it disrespects legitimately injured Californians who are unable to work,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.In June 2010 while employed as a dancer for John Cossette Productions Barnes was struck by a piece of ceiling that fell on him during a sound check.

Barnes received state disability insurance benefits from September 2010 to September 2011, totaling more than $51,000. Barnes stated that he was not employed during the year he received state disability insurance. Detectives discovered evidence that Barnes was actually working while collecting disability benefits. 

While receiving disability benefits, Barnes starred in a Kia car commercial playing the role of a dancing hamster. He also performed in a rap group called The Rej3ctz, under the alias MoWii, assisted in recording the song Cat Daddy, and worked as a backup dancer for Madonna, Kelly Rowland, and Chris Brown under the name Hypnosis.



The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.