EBT fraud and abuse: Looking past your state -

EBT fraud and abuse: Looking past your state

Posted By Todd Shepherd On July 24, 2012 @ 6:24 am

By Todd Shepherd  |

Fraud is skyrocketing as states shift from issuing paper-based food stamps to plastic, electronic benefits transfer cards preloaded with a monthly limit of cash intended only for food purchases.


Fraud is skyrocketing as states shift from issuing paper-based food stamps to plastic, electronic benefits transfer cards preloaded with a monthly limit of cash intended only for food purchases.

Examples of fraud prompted Congress to take action, with President Obama signing a law [2] in February intended to prevent EBT cardholders from spending their money on tattoos and at strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos.

Here’s a state-by-state listing of some EBT fraud stories:

Alabama: Not fraudulent, but are EBT cards becoming a status symbol? In Alabama, a place called the “Rose Supper Club” gives you $5 off the cover price if you show your EBT card. It’s a promotion called “Food Stamp Fridays [3].”

Arizona: A 15-month investigation found roughly $700-K in EBT fraud. 18 indictments [4].

California: $69 million in EBT funds [5] withdrawn outside the state’s borders in recent years, including almost $12 million withdrawn in Las Vegas.

Colorado: EBT cards used at strip clubs, casinos [6]. Denver Post editorializes [7] that attempts to crack down on fraud might not be worth it.

Connecticut: 27 state workers fired, 10 others retire after investigation finds massive insider fraud [8] by government bureaucrats.

Florida: Investigators find that sales of EBT cards at less than full value results in a $2-million [9] swindle.

Georgia: Man pleads guilty to EBT card scam valued at $4.6 million, believed to be largest food stamp fraud [10] ever in the state.

Illinois: Sting on “LINK” cards believed to have generated $40,000 monthly revenue [11] for one of the families accused of participating in the alleged fraud ring.

Indiana: State worker accused of issuing EBT cards to fake recipients [12]. Also, police arrest five in EBT scam [13] believed to have netted $100-K.

Iowa: Grocer, a former City Council member, convicted of witness tampering [14] during food stamp investigation and trial. In a separate story, Iowa inmates found to have been illegally receiving food stamp benefits [15] while incarcerated.

Kansas: Authorities believe as many as 7,000 fraudulent users of EBT cards are costing the state $22-million [16].

Louisiana: Eight arrested in food stamp fraud. In late 2011, the state said it had 474 active investigations [17] into possible EBT fraud/abuse.

Maine: “Tip of the iceberg [18]” investigation nets five indictments.

Maryland: Believed to be No. 2 in the nation [19] in EBT card fraud, with one in four card applications “showing evidence of fraud.”

Massachusetts: Stores accused of buying EBT cards [20] at discounted prices, and hooking up EBT card users with crack cocaine dealers.

Missouri: Welfare cards being spent [21] in such distant places as Florida and Hawaii.

New Hampshire: Report says 10 percent of all registered food stamp recipients live out of state [22].

Ohio: Audit finds 33,000 replacement EBT cards [23] ordered in one year. “[M]ore than 1,500 people in Hamilton County have ordered 10 replacement cards or more since 2006.”

Texas: State faced $4 million in federal fines [24] for errors in issuing food stamps.

Washington [25]: Store owner sentenced to 21 months in prison: $170,000 in her bank account on the day of the raid.

Wisconsin: Nine county workers suspected in multi-year fraud [26] that scammed $300-K or more.

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[1] Image:

[2] signing a law:

[3] Food Stamp Fridays:

[4] 18 indictments:

[5] $69 million in EBT funds:

[6] strip clubs, casinos:

[7] editorializes:

[8] investigation finds massive insider fraud:,0,6034839.story?track=rss

[9] $2-million:

[10] largest food stamp fraud:

[11] $40,000 monthly revenue:

[12] fake recipients:

[13] EBT scam:

[14] witness tampering:

[15] illegally receiving food stamp benefits:

[16] costing the state $22-million:

[17] 474 active investigations:

[18] Tip of the iceberg:

[19] No. 2 in the nation:

[20] accused of buying EBT cards:

[21] Welfare cards being spent:

[22] live out of state:

[23] replacement EBT cards:

[24] $4 million in federal fines:

[25] Washington:

[26] multi-year fraud:

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