Paul Herbert, star of the reality show Wicked Tuna, could be in trouble with federal courts for allegedly accepting more than $44,000 in Social Security and Medicaid benefits, The Associated Press reports.
Herbert, 50, who can be seen being physically active on the show, is alleged to have collected government assistance between 2010 and 2014 as a result of his claims to be disabled and incapable of working. A four-count indictment was filed Friday in U.S District Court in Burlington.
The reality star’s first claims of disability came in early 2009 when he allegedly filed for Social Security, stating that he couldn’t work at any job, could not walk properly and could not lift heavy weights or drive more than short distances. Herbert also claimed to live alone with no financial resources, vehicle or income.
According to AP he began receiving benefits in October 2010.
Friday’s indictment paints a different picture; alleging that Herbert was “capable of arduous physical labor” and was said to be living with the mother of his child while owning a vehicle and working for pay. His paid work includes fishing for tuna in his appearances on Wicked Tuna.
Herbert’s attorney, Robert Goldstein, said Herbert “adamantly asserts his innocence and looks forward to defending these charges in court,” AP reports.
The show, which airs on the National Geographic Channel, first aired in 2012. It follows various boats trying to land Bluefin tuna. The fish can weigh up to thousands of pounds and reel in tens of thousands of dollars.
A court date has been set for Aug 10.
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