Actress Q’orianka Kilcher is facing criminal charges for allegedly collecting disability benefits at a time she was able to work.
The 32-year-old star was charged with illegally cashing in on nearly $97,000 in disability benefits while working on the popular TV show “Yellowstone,” authorities said Monday.
Kilcher is charged with two felony counts of workers’ compensation insurance fraud, the California Department of Insurance said in a statement.
Kilcher allegedly injured her neck and right shoulder during her stint on “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” in October 2018, the insurance department’s statement said.
Her attorney, Michael Becker, said she was a passenger in a production vehicle when the injury took place.
“Third-party doctors verified her injury and entitlement to benefits. Ms. Kilcher was at all times candid with her doctors and treatment providers and she never intentionally accepted benefits that she did not believe she was entitled to,” Becker said.
A year later, she told a doctor handling the insurance claim she was offered work but could not take it because of severe neck pain from her injury.
Between 2019 and 2021, Kilcher received a cool $96,838 in her bank account as temporary disability benefits. But an investigation later found she worked on “Yellowstone” in 2019 during the same few months she claimed to be disabled.
“According to records, she returned to the doctor and started receiving disability benefits five days after last working on the show,” the statement said.
Kilcher was arraigned on the charges in May.
Becker, who also said she provided regular updates to her caseworker at the Division of Workers’ Compensation, said Kilcher will “vigorously defend herself.”
He also asked for Kilcher to “be afforded the presumption of innocence both in and outside the courthouse.”
Kilcher’s court date is scheduled for Aug. 7.
The actress is best known for her role as Angela Blue Thunder in four episodes of “Yellowstone” which also stars Kevin Costner.
Kilcher also portrayed Pocahontas in the 2005 movie “The New World.”