"Octomom" Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud Charges

The 38-year-old single mother of 14 children is accused of failing to report $30,000 in income

By JOHN ROGERS
|  Friday, Jan 17, 2014  |  Updated 10:50 AM PDT
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In this file photo taken May 19, 2010, "Octomom" Nadya Suleman wears a t-shirt promoting pet birth control outside her home in La Habra, Calif.

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"Octomom" Nadya Suleman pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of failing to report $30,000 that authorities say she was earning when she applied for public assistance benefits.

The 38-year-old single mother of 14 children was released on her own recognizance after arraignment in Los Angeles County Superior Court on three counts of welfare fraud.

Deputy District Attorney Bill Clark said afterward that the case will go to disposition court, where authorities will try to resolve it without a trial.

"If she can pay the money back, that makes a big difference," he said.

Suleman was ushered away by bailiffs and did not speak to reporters.

Authorities say Suleman failed to disclose residuals from videos and money she was paid for personal appearances when she applied for welfare last year.

She is charged with one count of aid by misrepresentation and two counts of perjury by false application. If convicted, she could face five years and eight months in prison.

Suleman, whose real name is Natalie Denise Suleman, shot to fame on Jan. 26, 2009, when she gave birth at a Southern California hospital to eight children, who quickly became the world's longest-surviving octuplets.

Like her six older children, they were all conceived by in-vitro fertilization. She has never disclosed the identity of the father.

After learning that her physician had actually implanted 12 embryos in her womb, the state Medical Board revoked his license.

Almost from the beginning, she struggled to support the additional children. She defaulted on payments on a house she bought in 2010 and the lender foreclosed.

She has found ways to make money: doing a porn video, posing topless for various publications, dancing in a Florida strip club and taking part in so-called celebrity boxing matches. One of her boxing opponents was Amy Fisher, the former "Long Island Lolita" who was 17 when she shot her much older lover's wife in the face in 1992.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals paid Suleman $5,000 and gave her a month's supply of vegetarian hot dogs and hamburgers in 2010 for endorsing birth control for dogs and cats.

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