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Philly mom behind the ‘camel prom’ accused of fraud

The North Philly restaurant owner is accused of defrauding the government of nearly $37,000.

Saudia Shuler and the black leopard at the Wakanda-themed prom send off on 22nd St. in North Phila., Pa. on June 6, 2018.
Saudia Shuler and the black leopard at the Wakanda-themed prom send off on 22nd St. in North Phila., Pa. on June 6, 2018.Read moreELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer

Saudia Shuler, the North Philly restaurateur who has been dubbed "the camel mom" for her decked-out pre-prom celebrations, has been indicted on eight federal counts of fraud and one count of theft of government funds.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced the indictment in a news release Tuesday. Shuler, 44, is alleged to have not reported work and income "including operating her own restaurant" while collecting Social Security benefits under her disability status. The indictment contended that she defrauded the government out of nearly $37,000.

Shuler, owner of Country Cookin' on North 22nd Street in Swampoodle, first made headlines for lavishing on her son, J.J. Eden, a Dubai-themed prom sendoff that included a live camel and three foreign cars, among other features. She said at the time that the event cost her $25,000, after seizures, cancer, and a stroke that had forced her to learn to walk again. Because of her health issues, she said, she was uncertain that she'd see her son reach that milestone, then was overjoyed when she did.

>>READ MORE: Not your parents' prom: Inside Philly's elaborate send-off culture

Since that 2017 prom, Shuler has enjoyed Instagram notoriety and has used that platform to engineer extravagant charity giveaways and prom sendoffs.

If Shuler is found guilty of the charges, she faces a maximum sentence of 140 years in prison.

She did not respond to a request for comment. Tuesday afternoon she wrote the following on her Instagram page, while introducing a line of canned gravies under the brand Country Cookin':

Y'all see it. They don't wanna see me win. They tryna stop me, but it's gonna make me go harder. If they stop this deal, Ima invent something else bigger. But y'all against me just like them. Wow. Y'all blind and it's went over y'all head. Saud ever the fraud. When it's all said and done. Make sure y'all stay right where y'all at. ✌🏾