'Yellowstone' Actor Q'Orianka Kilcher Cleared of All Charges in Disability Fraud Case

"I am beyond grateful that my case has been dismissed — tomorrow my journey begins to help raise awareness and demand more transparency for worker's rights," Kilcher said in a statement

Q'orianka Kilcher is putting her legal woes behind her.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office dismissed all charges against the 32-year-old Yellowstone actress on Friday, according to a release from her spokesperson.

"To date, Kilcher has maintained her innocence and today's news exonerates her," reads the statement. "Despite suffering a serious and life-altering traumatic injury she endured while filming Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Kilcher is enthusiastic about her new slate of projects and is hoping to use this moment to shed light on the experiences of other workers who have been injured in the workplace."

For her part, Kilcher said in the statement: "Today, I am beyond grateful that my case has been dismissed — tomorrow my journey begins to help raise awareness and demand more transparency for worker's rights within the workers comp system."

She continued, "I want to thank my attorneys, Camille Vasquez and Steve Cook, for their steadfast belief in my innocence — without their advocacy, we would not be here today. Finally, I want to thank my family, friends, fans, and fellow industry peers whose support has kept me going. I look forward to shedding more light on this experience and continuing to do the work I love."

Vasquez and Cook, who are partners at Brown Rudnick, said in their own statement: "We are pleased that after re-evaluating this case, the District Attorney has decided to dismiss the charges against Ms. Kilcher. The decision is a true victory, and while we are gratified that Ms. Kilcher's innocence has been vindicated, the truth is that the California Department of Insurance should never have brought this case, and Ms. Kilcher should never have been subjected to this ordeal. Having been cleared, Ms. Kilcher is excited to move forward and devote her attention to her flourishing career."

Q'orianka Kilcher Governors Awards, Arrivals
Q'orianka Kilcher. Rob Latour/Shutterstock

In July, the California Department of Insurance announced that Kilcher had been charged with two felony counts of workers' compensation insurance fraud in California after she allegedly broke state law by collecting disability benefits while she worked on Yellowstone.

Per their press release, Kilcher played a supporting role in the 2019 Paramount Players film Dora and the Lost City of Gold and allegedly injured her neck and right shoulder while working on the movie.

Authorities claimed Kilcher told a doctor she was too injured to work while filming for her recurring role in season 3 of Yellowstone three years ago, and she went on to collect $96,838 in disability benefits from Oct. 14, 2019, through Sept. 9, 2021. She self-surrendered and pleaded not guilty at her arraignment on May 27, Law360 reported.

After Kilcher was allegedly injured in the accident on the set of Dora, the California Department of Insurance claimed that the actress "saw a doctor a few times that year, but stopped treatment and did not respond to the insurance company handling her claim on behalf of her employer."

In October 2019, Kilcher allegedly contacted the insurance company to say she needed treatment and told a doctor that she had been unable to accept work offered to her since the injury occurred "because her neck pain was too severe." She started receiving temporary total disability benefits after making these claims, according to the release.

"After reviewing wage information from her employer, the investigation found Kilcher had worked as an actress on the television show Yellowstone from July 2019 to October 2019, despite her statements to the doctor that she had been unable to work for a year," the release read. "According to records, she returned to the doctor and started receiving disability benefits five days after last working on the show."

The doctor who responded to Kilcher's insurance claim said that if they had been aware of the star's employment in 2019, "they would never have granted her the disability payments."

Q'orianka Kilcher attends the 2019 Los Angeles Skins Fest Native American media awards gala
Q'orianka Kilcher. Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Ahead of her Sept. 7 hearing, a source close to Kilcher spoke to PEOPLE and said the actress was completely blindsided by the charges.

"She was shocked, to say the least, about the charges and is looking forward to getting the truth out there," the source said last month, in part. "As a result of a car accident she was involved in on the set of Dora, she is now 10 percent disabled for the rest of her life. The onset injury was a long road to recovery, going through intense physical and mental suffering."

The source also noted that because Kilcher is "an indigenous woman of Quechua-Huachipaeri descent," she is "often offered roles that represent Indigenous People in Hollywood that require a lot of physical activity, such as horseback riding and stunts," but she "had to turn down multiple roles over the last couple years during her recovery due to her injury."

"This is an incredibly stressful time for her but she hopes that this case can in some way shed light on the difficulty that actors, especially minority women, across the industry experience when injured on set, since at the end of the day, their bodies are their source of work," the source added. "Without being able to use them to their fullest extent, especially for physically taxing roles like those afforded to women of indigenous descent in Hollywood, many actors are put in a position where they can no longer support themselves and their families."

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In September, amid her ongoing insurance fraud case, it was reported by Deadline that Kilcher is slated to return to the screen for season 5 of Yellowstone.

Premiering on Nov. 13, Kilcher will resume her role as Angela Blue Thunder, a powerhouse attorney on the massively popular Paramount Network series. Her character last appeared in the show's third season, which aired in 2020.

Along with her role in Yellowstone, Kilcher portrayed Pochantas in 2005's The New World, Kawillaka in Dora and the Lost City of Gold and, most recently, Niki in the 2022 film Dog.

In her next project Yesteryear, Kilcher is set to take on the leading role of Alma Deswood, a "Native actress who psychologically unravels in quarantine amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement," according to the film's IMDb page.

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