A fisherman featured on the popular reality show
Wicked Tuna is facing federal fraud charges for allegedly defrauding the Social Security
program. On Monday, he pleaded not guilty to collecting government disability
benefits while “claiming” to be disabled.
Last month’s indictment claimed that Paul Hebert, 50, of Gloucester,
Massachusetts, and Barre, Vermont, received over $40,000 in Social Security
and Medicaid benefits from 2010 to 2013.
According to prosecutors, while Hebert was manning fishing boats, and harpooning
massive fish on the National Geographic Channel’s reality TV show,
Hebert was collecting disability and Medicaid benefits, claiming that
he was unable to work, and without income, assets, or an automobile.
The prosecutors say that during that time period, Hebert was living with
a woman and his child and that he owned a vehicle, and at one point he
owned a home.
If Hebert if found guilty and convicted, he faces up to five years in prison
and a maximum fine of $250,000 on each of the four counts listed in the
NBC News reports.
Wicked Tuna, which first aired in 2012, follows fisherman from the oldest seaport
in the country, Gloucester, Massachusetts, as the men earn a living the
way that they’ve been doing it for generations – rod and reel
fishing – in the pursuit of Bluefin tuna.
According to the National Geographic Channel, just one “monstah”
Bluefin tuna can be worth over $20,000.
Hebert, who claimed to be disabled during filming, is featured on the show
driving the boat and fishing with his teammates; he was also captured
A third-generation tuna fisherman, Hebert is the youngest of six boys.
The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC
Do you need legal advice regarding a
Social Security Disability claim? Contact a
Dallas Social Security Disability attorney from our office for qualified legal representation. We would be more than
glad to answer your questions regarding SSD benefits and your rights to
file a claim.