Octomom Nadya Suleman Pleads No Contest to Welfare Fraud Charge

Prosecutors say she did not disclose income from videos and personal appearances while accepting public assistance funds

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Nadya Suleman (R), also known as "Octomom", appears in Superior Court with her attorney Arthur J. La Cilento for arraignment January 17, 2014 in Los Angeles.

    Octomom Nadya Suleman pleaded no contest to a count of misdemeanor welfare fraud for failing to disclose income she was receiving from videos and personal appearances while accepting public assistance funds.

    Suleman, 39, entered the plea Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. 

    Suleman's attorney, Arthur J. LaCilento, told the Associated Press she was sentenced to 200 hours of community service, two years of probation and ordered to pay a small fine. She was originally charged with four felonies.

    Suleman illegally collected $26,000 in welfare benefits last year, according to authorities. LaCilento said she has since repaid that money.

    "We could have litigated, there were a lot of issues we could have raised," LaCilento said. "But she wanted to resolve this case quickly and not go through a public ordeal."

    Suleman became famous in 2009 by giving birth to eight children who quickly became the world's longest-surviving octuplets. Like her six older children, they were conceived by in-vitro fertilization.

    She struggled to support them, resorting to earning money by doing a porn video, posing topless for different publications, dancing in a strip club and taking part in boxing matches with D-list celebrities. Facing economic challenges last year, she applied for welfare benefits and collected $26,286 to which she was not entitled, authorities said.

    The district attorney's office said she has since repaid $9,805 to the California Department of Health Care Services and $16,481 to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services.

    She originally faced four felony counts and could have been sentenced to more than six years in jail.

    Prosecutors said from the beginning, however, that they hoped to work out a plea bargain so she could remain free to care for her children.