On Friday, Jan. 17, "Octomom" Nadya Suleman pleaded not guilty to welfare fraud after being charged with failure to report earnings when she applied for public assistance benefits.
According to Yahoo! News, the 38-year-old mother of 14 was released after an arraignment in Los Angeles County Superior Court for three counts of welfare fraud. However, she has been ordered to report to the L.A County Early Disposition Court on Feb. 3. Deputy District Attorney Bill Clark stated that authorities are making an attempt with this particular alternative in an effort to resolve the matter without a trial.
"If she can pay the money back, that makes a big difference," said Clark of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said.
Sulman initially filed for welfare in January of 2013. Since the approval of her application, Octomom has received a total of $16,481 from CalWorks financial assistance program and CalFresh food aid program during the first six months of 2013. Authorities also stated the forms of income that Suleman failed to disclose. The undisclosed income amounted to approximately $30,000.
"While applying for public aid, the mother of 14 children allegedly failed to disclose that she was also getting checks for personal appearances and residuals from videos," said Clark. "She allegedly failed to report the extra income she earned between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 30, 2013."
"She was running short on money. She went to the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services and asked for food stamps," D.A. Clark told reporters outside court. "And they gave them to her." However, Clark also stated that once Suleman started receiving public assistance, authorities received a number of calls from sources reporting that she was actually earning money while receiving benefits.
Although she may have qualified to receive some form of public assistance, authorities are certain she would not have been approved for the $16,481 she actually received.
Suleman is being charged with one count of aid by misrepresentation, and two counts of perjury by false application. If convicted, she could be facing five years and eight months in prison. However, Clark indicated that she probably wouldn't spend any time behind bars.
"She's got 14 children. We'll try and work out a deal for her," he said.
Image via YouTube | TMZ