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'Octomom' Nadya Suleman pleads not guilty to welfare charges

'Octomom' Nadya Suleman pleads not guilty to welfare charges
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Friday, January 17, 2014 - 8:23pm

(CNN) -- Octuplets mom Nadya Suleman pleaded not guilty Friday to welfare fraud charges relating to allegations that she did not report money that she earned as a topless dancer and adult film actress, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Suleman's next court date is February 3.

On Monday, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said that while Suleman applied for public aid, the mother of 14 children "allegedly failed to disclose that she was also getting checks for personal appearances and residuals from videos."

Suleman -- known in tabloids as "Octomom" -- was not arrested, but was ordered to appear before an Los Angeles County judge for her initial arraignment, the DA said Monday. She was not taken into custody Friday

The charges of one count of aid by misrepresentation and two counts of perjury by false application for aid accuse Suleman of not reporting nearly $30,000 in earnings.

Her work was no secret, though. Suleman, 38, performed in adult videos and danced topless at a Florida strip club last year.

"This is not a new career for her," her rep, Gina Rodriguez, told CNN in June when asked about her stripping gig. "She is just promoting her new video." An adult video featuring Suleman was released in June.

Suleman revealed in April that she was so determined to build a future for her 14 young children that she would accept adult entertainment offers, although she would not touch another "human's flesh."

Suleman, who collected food stamps to feed her 14 young children, filed for bankruptcy in May, but the case was tossed out of court because of paperwork issues.

Suleman dreams of building a business "empire" that will pay for food, shelter and college educations for her 14 children, she told Turner.

She ultimately hopes to become a role model for other women facing major struggles, she said.

"I've got to win the battle," she said. "But right now, people don't understand that."

The criminal complaint, filed by Deputy District Attorney William Clark with the public assistance fraud division, said Suleman applied for public assistance in Lancaster, California, in January 2013. It alleges that she failed to report the extra income earned between in the first six months of last year.

Suleman faces up to five years, eight months in prison if convicted, the prosecutor said.

-- CNN's Rosalina Nieves contributed to this report.

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