For those of you who don’t have television or don’t follow the news closely you might have missed this story back in 2015. It was originally reported by several news sources that a reality show cast member, 50-year-old Paul Hebert of Gloucester, Massachusetts from “Wicked Tuna” was indicted for federal fraud charges.
During episodes of the television show, Hebert is seen working very hard and doesn’t appear to have a disability at all. Herbert was apparently manning large fishing rods and harpooning fish while on the Wicked Tuna reality show on the National Geographic channel.
The indictment that was filed against him alleged that he accepted over $44,000 in Medicaid and Social Security benefits between 2010 and 2013. During that time he claimed that he could not work at all, had no assets, no income, and no vehicle.
It was determined that during 2010 through 2013 he was living with a woman, owned a vehicle and even owned a home at one point. At that time his attorney Robert Goldstein said he was innocent.
Herbert stated on his Facebook page (before it was no longer active)”I grew up doing this. My father was a fisherman, and my five brothers do it. My mother does it. It’s all I know. It’s like growing up on a farm, and knowing about cows. I grew up knowing bluefin.”
What is Wicked Tuna?
Wicked Tuna is a National Geographic reality show showing the top fisherman in Gloucester Massachusetts battle to be the best as they pursue the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. For more information visit the National Geographic about page for this show.
If you have never heard of a Bluefin Tuna you are not alone. The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is, however, one of the fastest, largest and widest-ranging(size) fish on earth. These fish can reach lengths of up to 10 feet which let’s face it, is ridiculous. These monster tuna can swim up to 40 miles per hour to catch their prey.
If caught a fish can be sold anywhere from $25 a pound to approximately $14 a pound according to some unverified sources I was able to locate.
UPDATE to 2016 Paul Hebert Pleads Guilty to Disability Fraud
Wednesday, January 20, 2016, Herbert pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement. He is to pay over $53,000 in restitution and they are recommending he get probation for four years. Sentencing is to take place in May of 2016.
Herbert’s attorney was quoted saying, “This took place at a time way before Mr. Hebert was fortunate enough to get the job on ‘Wicked Tuna.”
PI Advice Thoughts
The attorney’s statement was very telling in my opinion in regards to the outcome of the situation. It leads me to believe that Herbert was able to work but wouldn’t. When thoughts of being famous and having an opportunity to be on television, look how much motivation he had to work. He continued to collect those benefits despite being able to work.
He got off easy. It could have been worse for him.