‘Yellowstone’ actress charged with collecting $96,000 in workers’ comp fraud
“Yellowstone” actress Q’Orianka Kilcher has been charged with two felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud, California officials announced Monday.
Kilcher, 32, is accused of collecting over $96,000 in disability benefits despite having worked on the popular Kevin Costner-led drama for several months during the time that she said she was too injured to work.
She self-surrendered and was arraigned in May, California Department of Insurance officials said. She pleaded not guilty to the charges last month, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records. Kilcher had allegedly injured her neck and right shoulder during filming of the movie Dora and the Lost City of Gold in October 2018. She saw a doctor that year but stopped treatment and did not respond to the insurance company handling her claim on behalf of her employer, according to the California Department of Insurance. Kilcher then contacted the insurance company a year later in October 2019 about needing treatment.
The doctor said that the disability payments would not have been authorized “if they had been aware” of Kilcher’s recent employment history, according to the Department of Insurance, which said records show that Kilcher started receiving benefits five days after the last working on the show. Kilcher played Angela Blue Thunder in the third season of “Yellowstone,” one of TV’s most popular dramas. The season aired on the Paramount Network in 2020. She broke out in 2005 for her portrayal of Pocahontas in the acclaimed period piece “The New World,” directed by Terrence Malick and co-starring Colin Farrell and Christian Bale. Just five days after she stopped working on the show, she returned to the doctor and started receiving disability benefits, investigators say. From October 2019 through September 2021, Kilcher received $96,838.
Kilcher “self-surrendered” and was arraigned on May 27, 2022. Her attorney appeared in court Monday on her behalf and her next scheduled court date is August 7, 2022.
Klicher has long championed human rights and indigenous issues in the U.S. One of her more recent Instagram posts read “No more stolen sisters” in reference to the 5,000-plus cases of missing Native American women and girls across the U.S.
On Tuesday, not long after the news of her legal troubles broke, Kilcher posted an image that read: “So you only heard one side of the story and chose to believe it. Well now, that makes you as smart as paste doesn’t it.”The actress suggested in a social media post there’s more to the story.
Kilcher starred as Angela Blue Thunder, a lawyer introduced during “Yellowstone’s” Season 3 to improve conditions and conspire against the show’s antagonists on the fictional Broken Rock Reservation.
Much of “Yellowstone” Season 3 was filmed in Utah, shot in places like Oakley, Heber City, Logan, Spanish Fork, and Grantsville. However, the production packed up and moved to Montana to film Season 4, citing Utah’s film incentive program not offering the same rebate it did for seasons prior.