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California 'Octomom' pleads not guilty to welfare fraud

Nadya Suleman appears with her attorney Arthur J. La Cilento (L) for arraignment in Los Angeles, California January 17, 2014. REUTERS/Al Sei
Nadya Suleman appears with her attorney Arthur J. La Cilento (L) for arraignment in Los Angeles, California January 17, 2014. REUTERS/Al Sei

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Octomom" Nadya Suleman, the California single mother of 14 children including octuplets, pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles on Friday to charges that she lied about her income when filing for public assistance.

Suleman, who became a media sensation five years ago after giving birth to octuplets conceived through in-vitro fertilization, is accused of failing to report nearly $30,000 in earnings after applying for welfare in January 2013.

Wearing a dark blazer and with her black hair in a bun, the 38-year-old Suleman stood beside her attorney in Los Angeles County Superior Court as she entered her plea.

She has been charged with a single count of aid by misrepresentation and two counts of perjury by false application for aid.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office has said Suleman did not report earnings from personal appearances and residuals from videos for the first six months of 2013.

She faces up to five years and eight months in prison if convicted.

In 2009, Suleman initially received an outpouring of public support as a single mother of newborn octuplets but was later derided in the media when it was revealed she had undergone fertility treatments when she already had six children.

Her children were only the second set of octuplets known to have survived in the United States.

Since their birth, Suleman has struggled to make ends meet, attempting a singing career and releasing a pornographic video. In 2012, she entered rehab to treat anxiety and filed for bankruptcy.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Gunna Dickson)

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