Reality TV star Big Freedia is accused of illegally receiving Federal money for section 8 housing in New Orleans according to a recent report. Freedia is known to many folks as the Queen of Bounce…but the feds are trying to bounce him into the penitentiary
According to New Orleans station WWLTV,
The bill of information suggests that Ross will plead guilty. Big Freedia allegedly lied about how much money he was making as he renewed Section 8 vouchers on an annual basis, receiving more than $34,000 worth of vouchers when his income exceeded the federal subsidized housing limit. Freedia issued a statement Tuesday evening taking full responsibility but saying it was a mistake and not an intentional effort to steal federal assistance.
“This is an incredibly unfortunate situation,” Freedia said in an emailed statement. “I was on subsidized housing for many years before my financial situation changed. I quickly found myself in a new economic structure and, frankly, knew little about how to handle my money. It wasn’t until recently (after I had stopped receiving housing vouchers) that it became very clear I had received assistance to which I wasn’t entitled. It was an oversight – but one that I take full responsibility for.”
Freedia is already working to right his wrongs by paying restitution for the cime
“Housing vouchers are a vital lifeline for many people I know in New Orleans and around the country, including struggling artists,” Freedia’s statement continued. “I truly believe there needs to be more programs for artists and musicians to teach basic financial literacy and planning. Coming from where I came from, I know that I could have used that kind of assistance. I’m exploring ways to be a part of the solution in this area and am looking forward to putting this matter behind me.”
The 2010-2014 timeframe coincides with Big Freedia’s rise to national fame as the Queen of Bounce music. He helped spread bounce outside New Orleans by appearing on HBO’s “Treme,” on national talk shows, and in 2013 he got his own reality show on the Fuse Network. His fame hit a new high this year when he appeared with Beyonce in her Formation video, which featured New Orleans imagery.
Big Freedia was charged by the feds on Tuesday as Freddie Ross Jr. with stealing more than $1,000 in vouchers, but the value is actually more than $34,000, he confirmed. He could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He could also face forfeiture of property equivalent to the amount of the vouchers received.