SUP yoga is well-known as an excellent way to relieve stress and improve balance in a fun, yet challenging activity. For one unlucky Seattle man, it landed him in the slammer for nine months.
Good luck explaining that one to his fellow inmates.
According to the Seattle Times, 67-year-old Seattle man, Paul D. LaMarche, was featured on a television show doing SUP yoga, which, normally would not fall into the category of activities prohibited by law. But there’s a catch to this case.
Back in 1988, LaMarche claimed he was unable to work as a conductor and brakeman for the BNSF Railway due to a medical condition that left him unable to "lift, pull or carry heavy items" and caused "debilitating headaches daily." Over the next 23 years, LaMarche collected nearly $180,000 in disability benefits from Railroad Retirement Board and continued to claim that he was unable to work and had limited earnings.
Unfortunately for Mr. LaMarche, the U.S. Department of Justice caught wind of the fact that his “disability” had not prevented him from opening Emerald City Charters, which runs two large sailboats out of Emerald Bay with — you guessed it — LaMarche as the skipper.
Of course, this schemester was far from finished flaunting the law. To promote his charter-boat business, LaMarche was filmed in both the promotional videos of him sailing and the aforementioned television show featuring him practicing SUP yoga.
Once prosecutors got ahold of these clips, the SUP yogi knew his gig was up.
Mr. LaMarche plead guilty to wire fraud and theft of government property in March and was sentenced this week in US District Court. In addition to the nine months in prison, LaMarche agreed to pay back the $177,369 he received in disability payments, as well as another $177,369 in civil penalties for violating the False Claims Act.
A high price to pay for an activity that normally ends with a simple namaste.