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Dancing hamster gig leads to comp fraud conviction

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A man who played one of the dancing hamsters in commercials for Kia Motors Corp. has pleaded no contest to insurance fraud and false statements, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge last week sentenced 29-year-old hip hop dancer Leroy Barnes to 90 days of electronic monitoring, ordered him to perform 400 hours of community service, and pay more than $24,000 in restitution, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement on Friday.

Mr. Barnes received workers compensation and disability benefits after being struck by a piece of ceiling that fell on him during a sound check for a job with John Cossette Productions Inc., based in Van Nuys, California, in June 2010, according to the California Department of Insurance.

Though Mr. Barnes said he wasn't working while collecting benefits between September 2010 and September 2011, he played a dancing hamster in commercials for South Korean carmaker Kia during that time. He allegedly also worked as a backup dancer for Madonna and other stars.