“Yellowstone” actor Q’orianka Kilcher has been charged with illegally collecting nearly US$97,000 in disability benefits while working on the TV show, authorities announced Monday.
Kilcher, 32, of North Hollywood, is charged with two felony counts of workers’ compensation insurance fraud, according to a statement from the California Department of Insurance.
Kilcher in 2020 played Angela Blue Thunder for four episodes of the Paramount Network Western, which stars Kevin Costner.
She also portrayed Pocahontas in the 2005 movie “The New World” and was in 2019’s “Dora and the Lost City of Gold.”
While working on “Dora” in October 2018, Kilcher allegedly injured her neck and right shoulder, the insurance department said.
A year later, Kilcher told a doctor handling the insurance claim that she had been offered work but could not take it because of severe neck pain from her injury, according to the insurance department’s statement.
From 2019 through 2021, Kilcher received $96,838 in temporary disability benefits. But an investigation later discovered that Kilcher had worked on “Yellowstone” for several months in 2019 during the period she claimed to be disabled, the department said.
“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 surrendered and was arraigned on the charges in May, the statement said.
In a statement her attorney, Michael Becker, said that Kilcher was a passenger in a production vehicle when she was hurt.
“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.
Kilcher will “vigorously defend herself and asks that she be afforded the presumption of innocence both in and outside the courthouse,” Becker said.