By Jim Scarantino| New Mexico Watchdog
New Mexico welfare funds were drawn in cash or used to make purchases at liquor stores, casinos, smoke shops, bars, a ski resort, a bowling alley, a strip club, a high-end night club and Hooters lounges.
A review of electronic-benefit transfer records by New Mexico Watchdog showed that funds intended to cover the necessities of life for families with needy children were used in places of business that appear to indicate widespread abuse of the public-welfare program.
New Mexico Watchdog reviewed approximately 200,000 EBT card transactions that took place at the end of 2011. The cards are charged with monetary values each month that may be used to make purchases, or may be withdrawn in cash and spent at the card holder’s discretion.
The EBT records reveal a significant problem with how the funds are being used.
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