BURLINGTON – Former reality show cast member of ‘Wicked Tuna’ was sentenced in Burlington on Wednesday for Social Security and Medicaid fraud.
Paul Hebert, 51, of Gloucester, Massachusetts, formerly of Barre, Vermont, was sentenced to a four-year term of probation, a $5,000 fine, and ordered to pay restitution totaling $53,660.
According to court records, Hebert applied for Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid in 2009 while residing in Vermont.
Hebert worked as a commercial fisherman both before and after the hearing and signed a contract in 2011 to appear on the reality television show “Wicked Tuna.”
He became a regular cast member of the Bluefin tuna based reality TV show.
Prosecutors said Herbert made multiple false statements regarding his ability to perform basic life activities, such as driving and lifting household objects. Prosecutors also said Hebert falsely reported that he lived alone, had no income, had no vehicles, and did not own any listed assets.
“Mr. Hebert’s flagrant abuse of the Social Security system is galling,” said United States Attorney Eric S. Miller. “He demonstrated a profound disrespect for the taxpayers who fund our social safety net and for the Vermonters who must rely upon it to help meet their most basic needs.”
Between his commercial fishing work and his TV fishing work, Hebert received approximately $63,000 of earned income between 2009 and 2012, while he continued to receive SSI disability payments.
None of this income was declared to SSA, as required by law.
In addition, a total of $9,506 was paid in Medicaid claims for health care services provided to Hebert in the State of Vermont before his benefits were terminated in 2012.