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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont

Monday, August 10, 2015

Paul Hebert Pleads Not Guilty to Social Security and Medicaid Fraud

The United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Paul Hebert, 50, of Gloucester, Massachusetts, formerly of Barre, Vermont, pleaded not guilty today in United States District Court in Burlington to charges related to Social Security fraud and Medicaid fraud. U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy released Hebert on conditions pending trial, which has not been scheduled.

On July 23, 2015, a federal grand jury in Burlington returned a four-count indictment charging Hebert with making a false statement of material fact in a matter before the Social Security Administration; concealing and failing to disclose information material to the Social Security Administration’s determination of continued eligibility for benefits; concealing material facts in connection with a matter involving a health care benefit program; and making false statements on an application to receive Vermont Medicaid benefits. According to the indictment, Hebert falsely claimed to be disabled, living alone, with no income, no vehicle, and no assets, when, in fact, he was working as a tuna fisherman and appearing on television, lived with a woman and his child, owned a vehicle, and, at one point, owned a housing unit. The indictment alleges Hebert fraudulently obtained at least $34,500 of Social Security Income Program benefits and $9,500 of Medicaid benefits.

The United States Attorney emphasized that the charges in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.

If convicted, Hebert faces up to five years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count of the indictment. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.

“The Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General is committed to pursuing those who defraud Social Security’s vital programs and abuse the public trust,” said Scott Antolik, the Special Agent-in Charge of the SSA Office of Inspector General, Boston Field Division. “Supplemental Security Income is a critical safety net for our most vulnerable citizens, and we will continue to work to uphold its integrity through our collaborative efforts with State and Federal agencies.”

“Misrepresenting your income and life circumstances in order to receive Medicaid benefits, as alleged in this case, is illegal and a waste of funds designed to provide health care services for low income and disabled individuals,” said Special Agent in Charge Phillip M. Coyne, Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Boston Regional Office. “Our agency will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect this program from fraud, waste and abuse.”

United States Attorney Eric S. Miller commended the efforts of the SSA Office of Inspector General, Boston Field Division; HHS Office of the Inspector General, Boston Regional Office; and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement, in the investigation and prosecution of Hebert. Miller added, “Our office will continue to prioritize the prosecution of fraud cases, particularly when the alleged fraud involves taxpayer dollars intended to serve Vermonters who are most in need.”

Hebert was represented at the hearing by Timothy Fair, Esq. of Blodgett, Watts, Volk & Sussman, P.C. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ophardt.

Updated August 10, 2015