New Orleans bounce Gawd Big Freedia was charged with theft of government funds. According to reports, Freedia, real name Freddie Ross Jr., lied about her income to obtain assistance for subsidized housing through section 8 vouchers between 2010 and 2014.
“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,” Freedia said in a statement to Pitchfork.
“It was an oversight—but one that I take full responsibility for. From the moment I was contacted by Government agents, I have fully cooperated and have already begun making arrangements to pay full restitution (of approximately $34,000),” she added.
Freedia, who appears on Beyonce’s “Formation” song, finished the statement talking about the need for basic financial literacy and planning training for artists like herself.
“Housing vouchers are a vital lifeline for many people I know in New Orleans and around the country, including struggling artists. 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.”
Freedia could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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