Big Freedia gets 3 years probation for Section 8 theft

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - The Queen of Bounce was sentenced to three years of probation for stealing from the government.

Freedia, whose real name is Freddie Ross Jr., pleaded guilty to theft of government funds in March.

According to court documents, Freedia applied for Section 8 benefits in March 2009, listing his monthly income between $100 and $1,000. He was accepted into the program and began receiving about $521 per month for rent. Freedia fraudulently received about $35,000 worth of housing vouchers from 2010-2014.

Before the sentencing, U.S. District Judge Lance Africk told Big Freedia that he doesn't consider what he did a victimless crime, adding that 6,000 people are waiting for housing assistance.

Prosecutors say if Freedia had reported his income accurately, he would have been disqualified from the program.

In federal court, Freedia's lawyer argued for a lesser sentence, saying if his client could go back in time, he would. He said Freedia has struggled with substance abuse.

Freedia faced a max sentence of 10 years in prison.

Along with probation, Freedia will  pay a fine of $35,000, in addition to the restitution he had already paid.