Big Catch: Star Of Reality Show Wicked Tuna Indicted For Disability Fraud

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Paul Hebert, 50, one of the stars of the National Geographic Channel reality show “Wicked Tuna,” has learned the peril of being a celebrity. Hebert has been indicted on federal fraud charges after officials found it odd to see him on television working hard in the tuna business when he accepted $44,000 in Social Security and Medicaid benefits from 2010 to 2013. The Gloucester man had claimed disability, but he indictment says that he was “capable of arduous physical labor” and beginning in October 2010,”he earned money through fishing and later through his television work.”

First, as I have previously criticized the demise of the history channel under Abbe Raven, I am saddened to report that this is even a show on the National Geographic channel, which used to be a wonderful site for knowledgeable and informative pieces on nature and travel.

Now back to the case. Hebert was hit by a four-count indictment and is due in court on August 10th. Hunting down a fish that moves at 40 miles per hour and can dive deeper than 3,000 feet below the water is problematic when claiming work disability.

National Geographic is still posting his image with the promise that “one-time first mate of the Tuna.com Paul Hebert is ready to show his true mettle as Captain of his own boat.” That is precisely what the prosecutors intend to also show.

On his Facebook page, fans are leaving such notes as “So disappointed in you! That’s all I have to say but I could say more.”

33 thoughts on “Big Catch: Star Of Reality Show Wicked Tuna Indicted For Disability Fraud”

  1. Nobody has commented bout the amount…. $44,000 over 4 years…. who can actually live off that????

    1. Dave – as a single person it is hard to live on SSI. However, if you do work they deduct 1 for 2, if I remember correctly. Same as SS. For every $2 you make you pay them $1 back. If you reach a certain amount, they will stop SSI

    2. Dave wrote: “Nobody has commented bout the amount…. $44,000 over 4 years…. who can actually live off that?”

      Dave, you might be surprised at the answer. This amount is about $916 a month. Most single people on disability that I know get around $850 a month, with some getting around $1400 or more a month. Remember that they also usually get food stamps on top of this. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you can easily milk more out of the system by not marrying your significant other and being treated as two separate individuals. Often this is done by each individual using their parent’s address as their residence, regardless of where they actually sleep.

      There is this one lady I am helping right now who is in the hospital at the moment. I am going to visit her today. She has been in the hospital or a nursing home for the last several months, all paid for by the generous taxpayer. While there, she has virtually no expenses for rent, electric, etc. Previously she was paying $300 a month for rent which included electric, water, garbage, and internet. I did just notice a few days ago that match.com is taking almost $60 a month out of her account. That has basically been her only expense over the last several months.

      The interesting thing about her is that she is very stingy with her money. She constantly tells people how she has nothing, so she also gets lots of handouts from charitable people. She has her round of church ministries that she visits for additional food, clothing, etc. I saw her bank statement this week. Her bank account show a balance of over $18,000. That is much higher than the bank account of the average hardworking taxpayer. She is in her 50’s now and began disability in her 20’s after working for only a few years before she was deemed unable to work because of a mental disability. Remember that besides the approximately $850, she gets food stamps that is more than enough to pay for her food. She has trouble using all the money that the government throws at her. She always has a surplus. Of course, she is somewhat exceptional. She is one of the few I have known who does not smoke, drink, or do drugs. Most people I know in a similar situation as her blows the money within the first few day or two after the 3rd when the check comes. Many buy drugs. Many just don’t know how to handle money. Some buy prescription drugs prescribed to them and then sell the pills on the black market. The taxpayers are so generous to support these people. Thank a Democrat for creating this economically inviable situation.

      I certainly agree with helping people in need, but I do not believe the government should be doing it. Each individual needs to take care of himself, and having been successful at doing that, then help bear the burden of those who have failed to do that. The mindset is different to the receiver when they receive generosity from an individual. When it comes from the government, it is money owed to them.

      1. david – in a group home or with roommates you can make it on SSI, however as a single person trying to live on your own it is very hard.

  2. What a piece of ship, this is what is killing our country. Jackasses like him who can work but don’t and suck off the rest of us. And then the progressives think that this kind of thing is perfectly acceptable or at least they must because it happens more often than not and no one seems to care. No means testing, no backup testing no testing of any kind. You want the money just hobble around a little in the government money bag will be opened to you. But God help you if you actually have a disability don’t come to us we are not going to give you ship.

  3. This kind of fraud is rampant. I’m surprised they went after this guy.

    I have watched this show because I love fishing. The truth is that this guy does appear disabled on the show. I have no doubt that doctors qualified him for government assistance. His defence is going to be kind of easy for him. The government says you qualify for assistance if you do x, y, and z. He did x, y, and z, so the government said, okay, here’s your money. What might trip him up is if he did not properly report changes in his situation. What this case really shows is that some people who qualify for government assistance could work if they really wanted to and the opportunity was there. That is where the focus should be in helping people. Instead of giving handouts, we need public works programs and opportunities for people to better themselves. They need a hand up instead of a handout.

  4. “scoliosis is not something you would notice unless the person was undressed. I just saw a program on Richard III and they had a guy with a scoliosis that matched Richard. There was no way looking at the guy from the front that you would see a scoliosis, however I had never seen a scoliosis that severe.”

    Yes, but that’s not true. My boss noticed mine over my clothes. She asked me if I had it.

    The 21 year old had a bikini on, when she was arrested.

    1. Lisa – the only way you notice a scoliosis with clothes on is if the shoulders are at different heights. If you are wearing a bikini, it would be noticeable.

  5. @JTurley

    Uh, I clicked on your link above to your previous article, and maybe perhaps you should check out the final two comments.

    Those would be more appropriate on a Boy Scouts Allow Gay Troop Leaders thread, if you get my drift. They are either spammy, or somebody really disliked the article.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  6. Nick & Modern:

    I know someone who took her mother’s handicapped placard to use for herself. She used to take her mother to doctor’s appointments, but she kept the placard up all the time and used it herself. Then, after her mother passed away, she kept using it. I also know of people who have the handicapped placard for a spouse, but use it themselves also to get the front parking spaces.

    I do not understand the shamelessness of our society. There seems to be an erosion of an internal conscience, and a sense of shame for behaving badly.

    Anytime there’s a benefit program, there’s unfortunately going to be fraud. There are always going to be people of low character who take advantage. The problem is that our society does not value or deliberately instill character in children like it used to. That’s considered “old fashioned” now, and it shows.

    1. Karen S – my public library shares a parking lot with a high school. The school administration get a row and the library staff gets a row. That leaves two rows for the patrons. Of the parking spots left, 1/3 are marked for handicapped. Those are rarely used.

  7. When I worked on pipelines as a kid, back in the late 60s, we were supposed to wear hard hats but no one did as it was too hot and there was almost never anything that would fall from higher than our height. The hard hat company sent salesmen and promised that if we could show how a hard hat had saved us from head injury the company would send us a gold hard hat with all sorts of logos and designs.

    It didn’t take long before dozens of hard hats were thrown under the tracks of diesel caterpillars, crushed to pancake shape and sent in for gold hats. We did get a few gold hats before being told to stop.

    This is much more serious. The guy should go to jail just as if he had robbed a bank.

  8. This reminds me of the “Naked Guy” story a few years back where the winner of $100,000 didn’t report the income and went to prison for tax fraud. Do these reality t.v. participants not understand that government agents watch t.v.? They also read the newspapers. There was some heiress at a charity event and a photo of her laden in furs and jewelry. When she died not long afterwards, none of that stuff was reported on her federal estate tax return. So the IRS agents confronted the daughter with the newspaper photo. Woops! She coughed up the missing furs and jewelry and paid huge fines and interest.

  9. This guy is a creep, but who should be considered disabled? How should we identify “disability”. Leave it up to doctors who may not have adequate information to make an informed determination? What percent of the population is a reasonable percent to qualify as “disabled”? As technology becomes increasingly complex will increasing numbers of people be unable to understand the processes required to contribute productively to the community?

  10. Modern, Amen. Disabled parking scofflaws is one of my pet peeves. There was a scandal @ UCLA awhile back where football players were using pilfered disabled stickers to get parking.

  11. You can get handicapped plates for heart conditions, ModernMiner – and that would not prevent somebody from driving a lung-slung sports car or bounding out of it when they park. Many people have handicaps and disabilities that cannot be seen by mere observance, nor does everybody with handicap tags have one that is prevalent and with them 100% of the time.

    That is why doctors are involved in the process of getting such tags, and not some random d-bag observer in a parking lot who thinks they know everything about a person by simply watching them get out of a car and walk in to a store once.

  12. Cut from the same cloth as those with handicapped plates on their low-slung sports cars, who bound out of them in their front-and-center parking places at WalMart like Fred MacMurray in Son of Flubber.

    The Greatest Generation would be ashamed to see how lazy and entitled we’ve become.

  13. I met a 21 year old single young woman with two kids and on SSD. She claimed it was for scoliosis but I saw no scoliosis and I have it too. She had been arrested for DUI with her kids in her car. She had illegal drugs on her. Must be something to be on SSD and be able to afford to buy illegal drugs. She was quite physically capable of working. Such a scam!!!!

    1. Lisa N. – scoliosis is not something you would notice unless the person was undressed. I just saw a program on Richard III and they had a guy with a scoliosis that matched Richard. There was no way looking at the guy from the front that you would see a scoliosis, however I had never seen a scoliosis that severe.

  14. Fraud is rampant. People have an entitlement mentality that is nurtured by an indulgent educational system and culture. Fraud in the private sector is policed. There’s peoples money involved. Public disability has become under the Obama administration a blank check. It’s YOUR money this guy stole. It’s the money of hard working, blue collar, honest, people he stole. Not watching reality TV I never heard of this guy, just like all of the other scandals of reality “stars.” You can thank the writers guild for this abomination of TV. They went on strike, networks needed programs, and reality TV began. Great union leadership!

    There is a new type of fraud that I just learned about recently. I was hired by a medium sized company that was hit w/ FMLA fraud. Being inquisitive, not only did I investigate the fraud itself, I researched this new cherry tree. As far as disability goes, FMLA is nascent. The Family Medical Leave Act started in 1993. It sounded good and humane, and in large part it was. If you have a sick kid, parent, etc. you get time off to care for them. The abuse has come to the expanded privileges regarding personal “health” and “injuries.” There are blatant examples of abuse litigated in Federal Court. Many of the cited cases are in the 7th Circuit, where I live and work. The 7th has been reasoned and common sense, abiding surveillance to catch cheats. Here’s the problem. Human Resources people are not equipped to handle these frauds. They are put into an adversarial position w/ an employee. In worker’s comp fraud, there is almost always a 3rd party, it’s the worker’s comp insurance company that hires PI’s to do surveillance on fraudulent cases. The HR people are removed from this position of investigating employees. If I were younger I would be putting together a presentation for Human Resource groups. The abuse is rampant. Not only is it stealing money from companies, it is destroying morale. When hard working honest employees see deadbeats scamming the company it creates a resentful, cancerous, culture.

    The Federal government only caught this guy because some SS Disability employee happens to watch this reality TV drivel.

  15. Distraction post from talking about much more horrific criminal acts. US commentary at its finest.

    1. chipkellyshouldgoogleleibniz – good to have you trolling this morning.

  16. I firmly believe that he should have gotten his own boat. Although I don’t watch the show I do agree with the comments on the History Channel. Right now I have to watch The American Hero Channel to get any history.

  17. The word oxymoron comes to mind. Dumb schmuck, dumb smoker, dumb tv star.

  18. [music to Cat Stevens, Morning Has Broken tune]
    Morning has broken!
    Life without Heaven!

    No more tuuuna!
    Not on the shoooow!

    Those without braaaaiins…
    Can’t work the gardens.

    Those who cheat momma..
    Go to the bars.

    This one is screeeewed!
    He’ll go to prison.

    We need his photo..
    Of him behind bars.

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