Well-known New Orleans bounce musician Big Freedia, who just featured on Beyoncé’s song “Formation,” was charged with stealing government funds. Charges that were filed against Freedia were stealing $1,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development between 2010 and 2014. Evidence stated that she lied about her income during that time period in order to stay in subsidized housing.
The sentence holds a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison in addition of a $250,000 fine. In a statement released by Freedia, she called the situation “incredibly unfortunate” and that it was an oversight by her. You can read Freedia’s full statement on the situation below.
“This is an incredibly unfortunate situation. I was on subsidized housing for many years before my financial situation changed. I quickly found myself in a new economic structure and, frankly, knew little about how to handle my money. It wasn’t until recently (after I had stopped receiving housing vouchers) that it became very clear I had received assistance to which I wasn’t entitled. It was an oversight—but one that I take full responsibility for. From the moment I was contacted by Government agents, I have fully cooperated and have already begun making arrangements to pay full restitution (of approximately $34,000).
“Housing vouchers are a vital lifeline for many people I know in New Orleans and around the country, including struggling artists. I truly believe there needs to be more programs for artists and musicians to teach basic financial literacy and planning. Coming from where I came from, I know that I could have used that kind of assistance. I’m exploring ways to be a part of the solution in this area and am looking forward to putting this matter behind me.”