EBT fraud and abuse: Looking past your state
Posted By Todd Shepherd On July 24, 2012 @ 6:24 am
By Todd Shepherd | Watchdog.org
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  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 .”
Arizona: A 15-month investigation found roughly $700-K in EBT fraud. 18 indictments .
California: $69 million in EBT funds  withdrawn outside the state’s borders in recent years, including almost $12 million withdrawn in Las Vegas.
Connecticut: 27 state workers fired, 10 others retire after investigation finds massive insider fraud  by government bureaucrats.
Florida: Investigators find that sales of EBT cards at less than full value results in a $2-million  swindle.
Georgia: Man pleads guilty to EBT card scam valued at $4.6 million, believed to be largest food stamp fraud  ever in the state.
Illinois: Sting on “LINK” cards believed to have generated $40,000 monthly revenue  for one of the families accused of participating in the alleged fraud ring.
Iowa: Grocer, a former City Council member, convicted of witness tampering  during food stamp investigation and trial. In a separate story, Iowa inmates found to have been illegally receiving food stamp benefits  while incarcerated.
Kansas: Authorities believe as many as 7,000 fraudulent users of EBT cards are costing the state $22-million .
Louisiana: Eight arrested in food stamp fraud. In late 2011, the state said it had 474 active investigations  into possible EBT fraud/abuse.
Maine: “Tip of the iceberg ” investigation nets five indictments.
Maryland: Believed to be No. 2 in the nation  in EBT card fraud, with one in four card applications “showing evidence of fraud.”
Massachusetts: Stores accused of buying EBT cards  at discounted prices, and hooking up EBT card users with crack cocaine dealers.
Missouri: Welfare cards being spent  in such distant places as Florida and Hawaii.
New Hampshire: Report says 10 percent of all registered food stamp recipients live out of state .
Ohio: Audit finds 33,000 replacement EBT cards  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  for errors in issuing food stamps.
Washington : 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  that scammed $300-K or more.
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URL to article: http://watchdog.org/43198/ebt-fraud-and-abuse-looking-past-your-state/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://watchdog.org/files/2012/07/BenefitsCard.jpg
 signing a law: http://www.pressherald.com/news/New-welfare-restrictions-target-booze-tattoos.html
 Food Stamp Fridays: http://www.inquisitr.com/213932/food-stamp-fridays-at-alabama-club-angers-people/
 18 indictments: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/07/14/20110714arizona-food-stamp-fraud-arrests.html
 $69 million in EBT funds: http://sunspot.mercedsunstar.com/?q=node/3222
 strip clubs, casinos: http://www.9news.com/rss/story.aspx?storyid=252242
 editorializes: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_20065130
 investigation finds massive insider fraud: http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc-dsnap-27-fired-0313-20120312,0,6034839.story?track=rss
 $2-million: http://www.wesh.com/Police-3-Daytona-Beach-Stores-Busted-For-EBT-Fraud/-/11788876/13120914/-/2pjlqg/-/index.html
 largest food stamp fraud: http://www.macon.com/2011/10/26/1759475/man-pleads-guilty-in-food-stamp.html#ixzz1btFxfu4l
 $40,000 monthly revenue: http://www.cookcountysheriff.org/press_page/press_LinkCardFraud_05_12_11.html
 fake recipients: http://www.atmmarketplace.com/article/136684/Indiana-state-worker-charged-with-EBT-fraud
 EBT scam: http://www.wthr.com/global/story.asp?s=12617072
 witness tampering: http://thegazette.com/2010/05/07/iowa-grocer-sentenced-for-food-stamp-fraud/
 illegally receiving food stamp benefits: http://globegazette.com/news/local/article_5351501d-f36f-528c-960f-4228ae021d44.html
 costing the state $22-million: http://www.kansas.com/2011/11/30/2122572/usda-audit-identifies-kansas-food.html
 474 active investigations: http://www.kentucky.com/2011/05/16/1742661/three-charged-with-food-stamp.html
 Tip of the iceberg: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/city/2012/01/06/more-charges-come-lewiston-welfare-fraud-investiga/1136766
 No. 2 in the nation: http://www.wbaltv.com/Md-Ranks-2nd-In-U-S-For-Food-Stamp-Fraud/-/9380084/8902690/-/pm9ugdz/-/index.html
 accused of buying EBT cards: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2011/12/13/ebt-card-scam-shut-down-in-lynn/
 Welfare cards being spent: http://www.kmov.com/news/local/Missouri-Welfare-Benefits-Being-Spent-in-Hawaii-117256028.html
 live out of state: http://www.wmur.com/Report-Significant-Food-Stamp-Medicaid-Fraud-Possible/-/9858568/11834350/-/2icw2b/-/index.html
 replacement EBT cards: http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/i-team-food-stamp-fraud-continues-despite-electronic-tracking
 $4 million in federal fines: http://www.kcbd.com/story/12744209/texas-fined-for-food-stamp-fraud-happening-in-lubbock
 Washington: http://www.king5.com/news/investigators/Seattle-business-owner-admits-to-million--food-stamp-fraud-118935499.html
 multi-year fraud: http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/119794529.html
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