POSTED: 01:14 p.m. HST, Jan 13, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 01:14 p.m. HST, Jan 13, 2014
LOS ANGELES >> Nadya Suleman, who gained fame as "Octomom" after giving birth to eight babies, has been charged with welfare fraud after failing to report $30,000 in earnings while she collected public assistance, authorities said today.
Suleman, whose real name is Natalie Denise Suleman, was ordered to appear in court on Friday, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said in a statement. She was not immediately taken into custody.
Suleman was charged Jan. 6 with one count of aid by misrepresentation and two counts of perjury by false application. If convicted, she could face up to five years and eight months in jail.
Since their birth, the single mother has tried to support her huge family in a variety of ways, including endorsing birth control for pets, making a pornographic video, posing for semi-nude photo shoots and participating in celebrity boxing matches.
Last year she spent several weeks in a rehabilitation center for what her former publicist said was anxiety, exhaustion and stress
Efforts to reach Suleman for comment through recent associates were not immediately successful. There is no telephone listing for her in Orange, where she most recently lived.
Suleman, 38, was already the mother of six children when she gave birth to octuplets at a California hospital on Jan. 26, 2009.
All 14 of her children were conceived through in vitro fertility treatments.
As they approach their fifth birthdays, her octuplets are the world's longest-surviving set. Suleman has shielded them from much media attention, but occasional video and print articles seem to indicate the children are growing up healthy, even though they were born nine weeks premature.
The smallest of the eight, who weighed less than 2 pounds at birth, didn't go home from the hospital for nearly three months.
Suleman's other six children range in age from 7 to 12 and include one set of twins. One of the older children is autistic.