Big Freedia, the queen diva of New Orleans bounce music, was spared prison time Thursday afternoon on charges of theft of federal housing-assistance funds. She was sentenced to three years of probation and a $35,000 fine by U.S. District Judge Lance Africk.
The 38-year-old artist pleaded guilty in March to the theft of federal Section 8 housing voucher funds and had faced up to 10 years in jail. Freedia, whose given name is Freddie Ross Jr., has already made restitution of more than $34,000 and has taken steps to be a better role model, including working with Habitat for Humanity.
Freedia was charged by the federal government for failing to report her celebrity-level income and fraudulently collecting housing voucher assistance to pay her rent. She pled guilty to those charges and was awaiting sentencing when she violated her bond conditions by failing drug tests, for which she was remanded to a halfway house.