Nadya Suleman pleaded not guilty Friday to welfare fraud charges related to earnings she allegedly failed to report when filing for public assistance last year.
Better known as “Octomom” for the octuplets she gave birth to in 2009, Suleman, 38, did not talk to reporters after entering the plea in a downtown Los Angeles court.
The mother of 14 was accused by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office of not disclosing income she received for personal appearances and residuals from videos when she filed for public assistance in Lancaster in January 2013.
Government officials were alerted to the alleged fraud by anonymous tips, according to prosecutors.
The earnings reportedly totaled about $30,000, which meant Suleman was not entitled to some of the government assistance she received, prosecutors said.
Suleman needed to pay back $16,481, according to investigators.
“If she can pay the money back that makes a big difference,” prosecutor Bill Clark said.
Suleman, who had six children when she gave birth to octuplets, was charged Jan. 6 with one count of aid by misrepresentation and two counts of perjury by false application for aid, according to a news release by the DA’s Office. Both charges are felonies.
If convicted, Suleman could face up to five years, eight months in custody.
“I don’t think she’s going to get five years in prison. She’s got 14 children — we’re trying to work out a deal with her,” Clark said.
Suleman’s next court date was scheduled for Feb. 3.