Q’Orianka Kilcher has been charged with illegally collecting nearly $97,000 in disability benefits while working on ‘Yellowstone’.
The 32-year-old actress was charged with two felony counts of workers' compensation insurance fraud, according to a statement from the California Department of Insurance on Monday. (11.07.22)
Q’Orianka – who played Angela Blue Thunder for four episodes of the Paramount western alongside Kevin Costner, 67, in 2020 – allegedly hurt her neck and right shoulder working on the 2019 film ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’.
A year later, the actress told a doctor handling the insurance claim 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 until 2021, Q’Orianka received $96,838 in temporary disability benefits.
An investigation later discovered that Q’Orianka had worked on ‘Yellowstone’ for several months in 2019 during the period she claimed to be disabled, the department added.
Its statement said: “According to records, she returned to the doctor and started receiving disability benefits five days after last working on the show.”
It added Q’Orianka surrendered and was arraigned on the charges in May.
Her attorney, Michael Becker, said the actress was a passenger in a production vehicle when she was hurt and had never "intentionally" done anything wrong.
He said: “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.”
The lawyer said his client is set to “vigorously defend herself and asks that she be afforded the presumption of innocence both in and outside the courthouse”.
Q’Orianka first shot to fame in 2005 when she starred as Pocahontas aged 15 in ‘The New World’ film, and also starred in ‘Neverland’, and ‘Firelight’ alongside Cuba Gooding Jr..