Nadya Suleman, better known as Octomom after giving birth to octuplets in 2009, was in court today to face one charge of welfare fraud. Suleman entered a plea of not guilty, and agreed to return to court at a later date if a plea bargain can not be reached.
This charge is in addition to three felony charges of failing to reveal income received from adult videos and personal appearances while receiving assistance from the State of California. The four charges facing Suleman are estimated to account for $26,000 that was paid under false pretenses and would need to be repaid.
Suleman, who has fourteen children, all as a result of in vitro fertilization, is no stranger to controversy. In 2009, Suleman tried to broker a deal for a British reality show; she faced opposition from power attorney Gloria Alred, who had earlier faced off with Suleman on Dr. Phil. Alred later filed a case requesting that a guardian be appointed to monitor the best interests of Suleman’s eight infant children. Suleman has made the rounds of the daytime talk shows, where she has defended her parenting skills and the decision to have all eight babies, despite the fact that she was on disability at the time the in vitro procedure was performed.
In an attempt to support her children, Suleman posed semi-nude in British magazine Closer in March of 2012. She also faced accusations of child neglect, charges Suleman vehemently denied. The charges were later cleared after an investigation by California’s Child Protective Services determined Suleman’s home was in good repair and that all fourteen children appeared well cared for. 2012 was a bad year for Suleman; she filed for bankruptcy and also checked herself into a rehab facility for a laundry list of problems including exhaustion. Octomom has recently turned to starring in adult videos as a means of earning a living; it was these earnings that have caused her recent legal woes.
The greater controversy surrounding Octomom was the in vitro fertilization procedure that resulted in the birth of her octuplets. It was eventually revealed that her doctor, Michael Kamrava, implanted her with twelve embryos, far above the medical norm of two or three embryos for a woman of Suleman’s age (33) at the time of the procedure. While Suleman originally stated that she used embryos that were left over from her previous in vitro procedures, Dr. Kamrava claimed all of Suleman’s attempts at pregnancy were performed using ‘fresh’ embryos. After a lengthy investigation, the Medical Board of California revoked Kamrava’s license on July 1, 2011. While Kamrava argued that the decision to use twelve embryos was Suleman’s, the Board was not swayed.
Suleman’s octuplets, now aged five, are the oldest surviving octuplets on record.