“Octomom” Nadya Suleman was charged with a fourth count of welfare fraud Wednesday after prosecutors said they discovered she wrongly collected an additional $10,000 in benefits from the state.
When the single mother of 14 children was charged last month with three counts of fraud, authorities said she didn’t disclose about $30,000 in earnings from videos and personal appearances when she applied for welfare last year.
At the time, they said Suleman owed the state about $16,000. With Wednesday’s charge, that amount rises to about $26,000.
Suleman’s attorney, Arthur J. La Cilento, did not immediately respond to a message left at his office Wednesday.
Suleman, 38, was released on her own recognizance after she pleaded not guilty to the original charges. She has been ordered to return to court March 11 for a pretrial hearing, and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said she would be arraigned on the fourth count then.
Although she could face as much as six years and four months in jail, Deputy District Attorney William Clark said last month it was unlikely she’d serve that much time, if any.
“She’s got 14 children. We’ll try and work out a deal for her,” he told reporters after she pleaded not guilty to the original charges.
Suleman was originally charged with one count of aid by misrepresentation and two counts of perjury by false application for aid. The additional count filed Wednesday was another of aid by misrepresentation.
Suleman, whose real name is Natalie Denise Suleman, became famous in 2009 by giving birth to eight children who quickly became the world’s longest-surviving octuplets. They celebrated their fifth birthday last month.
Like Suleman’s six older children, the octuplets were conceived by in-vitro fertilization. After learning that her physician had actually implanted 12 embryos in her womb, the state Medical Board revoked his license.
Almost from the beginning, Suleman struggled to support the additional children. She defaulted on payments on a house she bought in 2010, and the lender foreclosed.
Suleman has never disclosed the identity of the father.
She has earned money by doing a porn video, posing topless for various publications, dancing in a Florida strip club and taking part in so-called celebrity boxing matches with former “Long Island Lolita” Amy Fisher and other D-list celebrities.
by JOHN ROGERS