snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > SLC Central > Soapbox Derby

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09 May 2018, 04:38 PM
Bill Bill is offline
 
Join Date: 02 January 2007
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,780
Default Welfare cash withdrawn at strip clubs, cruise ship, casinos

https://www.fox25boston.com/news/25-...inos/745369948

Quote:
EBT card holders racked up nearly $4 million in out-of-state welfare cash withdrawals, including $290,000 in Florida.

Taxpayers footed the bill for welfare dollars used in Hawaii, Myrtle Beach and even the Virgin Islands – where more than $4,000 in EBT cash was withdrawn for ATMs on the tropical island.

EBT cards were also used at ATMs inside strip clubs in Los Angeles and Boston, including $60 at The Glass Slipper – where the entrance fee is $10.

More than $6,000 in EBT cash was pulled from ATMs in the Las Vegas area, including several casinos and one card holder even took $100 from an ATM on a Carnival cruise ship.

“When you see abuses like this, it takes money away from senior citizens, veterans, children – people who really need these programs,” said state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09 May 2018, 04:43 PM
St. Alia St. Alia is offline
 
Join Date: 06 October 2010
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 877
Default

Poor people aren't allowed to travel? They can't visit relatives? Look to relocate?

Heaven forbid any of those places be decent places to visit.

I'm so glad they tracked down the money taken out of an ATM at a strip club and a cruise ship. I'm sure this is a rampant issue that everyone should take extremely seriously and we should have our politicians spend tons of time on regulating.

**Sorry for the tone. I'm exhausted by the effort some will put in to making sure the poor are scrutinized, but don't do a damned thing to help them or regulate those in power outside of government who get away with murder.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09 May 2018, 04:47 PM
Lainie's Avatar
Lainie Lainie is offline
 
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
Posts: 74,475
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by St. Alia View Post
Poor people aren't allowed to travel? They can't visit relatives? Look to relocate?
Accept a gift of travel expenses? Win plane tickets in a contest?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09 May 2018, 04:52 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 26,264
Default

Also, it could be possible that the person withdrawing the cash from the casino, strip club, cruise ship, works there.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09 May 2018, 04:54 PM
Kallah's Avatar
Kallah Kallah is offline
 
Join Date: 19 July 2004
Location: Eau Claire, WI
Posts: 2,593
Default

Edit: Removed, I misunderstood the article. It was only discussing withdrawals from Massachusetts.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09 May 2018, 04:55 PM
Lainie's Avatar
Lainie Lainie is offline
 
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
Posts: 74,475
Default

The "spent outside MA" thing is especially odd, considering that MA is a small state bordering other small states.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09 May 2018, 04:57 PM
Bill Bill is offline
 
Join Date: 02 January 2007
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,780
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kallah View Post
How much of that money was withdrawn by people who live in Georgia or Alabama? When I lived in northern Illinois it wasn't uncommon for us to "visit" Wisconsin for errands such as groceries or washing clothes at the laundromat.
I should have said, these are Massachusetts recipients.

From the first paragraph of the article:

Quote:
BOSTON - BOSTON -- A 25 Investigates review found millions in state welfare cash spent outside of Massachusetts – including taxpayer-funded withdrawals at strip clubs, resort hotels, casinos and even a cruise ship.
Thanks.

Bill
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09 May 2018, 04:58 PM
Kallah's Avatar
Kallah Kallah is offline
 
Join Date: 19 July 2004
Location: Eau Claire, WI
Posts: 2,593
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill View Post
I should have said, these are Massachusetts recipients.
That was my fault. I misread the article. You replied before I could edit my post.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09 May 2018, 05:01 PM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
 
Join Date: 23 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 28,566
Jolly Roger

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Also, it could be possible that the person withdrawing the cash from the casino, strip club, cruise ship, works there.
Such ATMs are notorious for charging exorbitant fees. I would hope employees would have some other place to get cash, regardless of where the cash is coming from.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09 May 2018, 05:14 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,514
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by St. Alia View Post
Poor people aren't allowed to travel? They can't visit relatives? Look to relocate?
Exactly. They might even be -- horrors -- looking for work!*

Possibly somebody did take their EBT cash and go spend it at a casino. Was a larger amount of money used doing this than was used to track down that somebody withdrew $60 from a casino machine at a place where the entry was $10?




*I have attempted to explain, possibly semi-successfully, to a relative why people who can't find work in, say, rural NYState don't all just pack up and move to, say, North Dakota if the news says there are lots of jobs in North Dakota at the given moment. It didn't occur to me to add to the list of reasons 'because maybe they'll get charged with welfare fraud for using their EBT cards along the way'.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09 May 2018, 05:54 PM
Sue's Avatar
Sue Sue is offline
 
Join Date: 26 December 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 9,210
Default

If you are struggling financially in Massachusetts I'm going to say with some degree of confidence that you aren't vacationing or job hunting in Hawaii - or certainly that this would be a rare occurrence. Are they taking a one off situation and running with it to make it seem like a common event? That said what conditions are attached to "welfare" (in quotes because this sometimes seems to be a catchall term for any money received from the government)? Here, AFAIK welfare is not tied in to whether you are looking for work. EI (employment insurance) though certainly is. Taking a vacation while collecting EI may result in you losing your benefits.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09 May 2018, 06:14 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 26,264
Default

I'm wondering if they are "doubling down" on their reporting of possible welfare fraud. They've already reported that EBT benefits are being advertised for sale online. It isn't a stretch to think that some if not most of these withdrawals are for EBT benefits sold or otherwise transfered.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09 May 2018, 07:13 PM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
 
Join Date: 23 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 28,566
Jolly Roger

Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
...
Possibly somebody did take their EBT cash and go spend it at a casino. Was a larger amount of money used doing this than was used to track down that somebody withdrew $60 from a casino machine at a place where the entry was $10? ...
The investigation was done by the press. I would imagine that it was just a matter of looking at the records and maybe a google search or two.

I'm not saying that its not a ridiculous thing to complain about though.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09 May 2018, 07:44 PM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,192
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue View Post
If you are struggling financially in Massachusetts I'm going to say with some degree of confidence that you aren't vacationing or job hunting in Hawaii - or certainly that this would be a rare occurrence. Are they taking a one off situation and running with it to make it seem like a common event? That said what conditions are attached to "welfare" (in quotes because this sometimes seems to be a catchall term for any money received from the government)? Here, AFAIK welfare is not tied in to whether you are looking for work. EI (employment insurance) though certainly is. Taking a vacation while collecting EI may result in you losing your benefits.
It certainly seems likely that the Hawaii example was a small amount of money. (So a one-time, or very small number of occurrences). In the same sentence it calls out the Virgin Islands and specifies $4,000. That suggests to me that the Hawaii example was probably far less. Maybe even on a par with $60? Who knows -- but the way this article is written makes me very skeptical.

It specifies how much was spent at medical marijuana dispensaries, (not much) then allows that it's actually legal to spend cash assistance there, but wrings hands about future recreational purchases.

Although I was not on welfare, I have in the past accepted an all expenses paid family vacation out of the country, where I could not have afforded to go otherwise. It even included meals at the resort where we stayed. If I had been on foodstamps and cash assistance, I would have been spending less of those things while I was there. So on the small scale that these examples are presented, I really don't know why you would jump to a conclusion of fraud.

It isn't based on the same time period, but this article involves similar kinds of issues, and helps to put the dollar amounts in perspective.

https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/b...achusetts.html

Last edited by erwins; 09 May 2018 at 07:52 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09 May 2018, 07:46 PM
Seaboe Muffinchucker's Avatar
Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
Join Date: 30 June 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 18,741
Glasses

Quote:
Originally Posted by St. Alia View Post
I'm exhausted by the effort some will put in to making sure the poor are scrutinized, but don't do a damned thing to help them.
I agree.

I'm also exhausted by the effort some will put in to institute measures purportedly intended to help the poor, but don't do a damned thing to make sure they actually do.

Seaboe
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 09 May 2018, 08:14 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,514
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue View Post
If you are struggling financially in Massachusetts I'm going to say with some degree of confidence that you aren't vacationing or job hunting in Hawaii - or certainly that this would be a rare occurrence. Are they taking a one off situation and running with it to make it seem like a common event?
From the article:


Quote:
EBT card holders racked up nearly $4 million in out-of-state welfare cash withdrawals, including $290,000 in Florida.
Taxpayers footed the bill for welfare dollars used in Hawaii, Myrtle Beach and even the Virgin Islands – where more than $4,000 in EBT cash was withdrawn for ATMs on the tropical island.
EBT cards were also used at ATMs inside strip clubs in Los Angeles and Boston, including $60 at The Glass Slipper – where the entrance fee is $10.
More than $6,000 in EBT cash was pulled from ATMs in the Las Vegas area, including several casinos and one card holder even took $100 from an ATM on a Carnival cruise ship.
So, out of 4 million: 290,000 in Florida, 4K in the Virgin Islands, $60 at the Glass Slipper, 6K in Las Vegas, and $100 on a cruise ship: that's 300,160 out of 4 million for which they specified the area of withdrawal. Some unspecified amount was used in Hawaii, Myrtle Beach, and elsewhere in Los Angeles; but as they included specified amounts as low as $60 it's hard to tell whether that was very much.

Maybe we're talking about ten percent of the four million spent in those locations? No way to tell from the article whether the rest of the "out-of-state" withdrawals were made in neighboring states, or in states likely to be generally reported to be hiring. And it may be unlikely, but it's not impossible, that someone from Massachusetts was in Hawaii or Las Vegas for a legitimate purpose -- a family funeral? We're probably talking about millions of people; a something that's a million in one chance is going to apply to several of them. [ETA: Whoops, no, not millions; but still quite a few: In Fiscal Year 2015, SNAP provided about $1.2 billion dollars in food benefits to a monthly average of 785,778 people in Massachusetts. I don't know how much of that could have been used for cash withdrawal.]

And they don't mention the total amount made available in EBT funds in Massachusetts as a whole; most of which presumably does get withdrawn in Massachusetts, so the amount spent in resort areas must be a considerably smaller percentage of the whole state funding than it is of the amount spent outside the state.

We've also got this, later down in the article:

Quote:
25 Investigates also found people pulled more than $4,000 in welfare cash out of ATMs at medical marijuana dispensaries last year.

Using cash assistance for medical marijuana is legal
-- if it's legal, why make a point of reporting about it?

And then there's this:

Quote:
25 Investigates asked Gov. Charlie Baker whether the state is doing enough to reign in lavish welfare spending.
Note the word "lavish". [ETA: and, while we're at it, that ought to be "rein" not "reign". Nitpick ahoy!]

So, overall: yes, I'd go with taking a rare situation and trying to make it seem like a common event.

Last edited by thorny locust; 09 May 2018 at 08:23 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09 May 2018, 08:59 PM
Kallah's Avatar
Kallah Kallah is offline
 
Join Date: 19 July 2004
Location: Eau Claire, WI
Posts: 2,593
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
SNAP benefits can only be used for food items and cannot be withdrawn as cash. Some states do use the same EBT card for both SNAP benefits and cash benefits from other programs, however, so it can appear that someone is using their SNAP card to make a cash withdrawal.

Page 13 (PDF) of this document appears to show $289 million dollars spend in 2014 for TADFC (the cash benefit program that most likely shares a EBT card with SNAP benefits). This section of Mass.gov indicates that their only other cash benefit program is Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC), which has a funding history from 2014 of about $100 million dollars. If those are indeed the only two state-level programs offering cash that's a budget of roughly $400 million, and 10% of that being spent out of state, especially in a small state which boarders many other small states, just doesn't strike me as unusual or cause for alarm.

ETA: And on a 100% personal level, I am annoyed that disabled adults were left off the list of people who might be getting taken advantage of (even though I don't feel that it's the case) and this is hardly the first time a large group of people who rely on government programs get swept under the rug. There are nearly as many disabled adults as there are elderly adults in the SNAP program.

Last edited by Kallah; 09 May 2018 at 09:06 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 09 May 2018, 10:30 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust thorny locust is offline
 
Join Date: 27 April 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 9,514
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kallah View Post
SNAP benefits can only be used for food items and cannot be withdrawn as cash. Some states do use the same EBT card for both SNAP benefits and cash benefits from other programs, however, so it can appear that someone is using their SNAP card to make a cash withdrawal.
Thanks. I was pretty sure you couldn't use SNAP for anything other than food in NY, but I wasn't sure whether other states did it differently.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 09 May 2018, 10:38 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
Join Date: 29 December 2005
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 6,910
Default

So $4M in out-of-state spending, of which some unknown portion is improper, out of a total budget between $300M and $400M?

Most business would be jumping for joy if there pilferage, accounting errors and mistakes accounted for only 1% of their budget.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 10 May 2018, 12:31 AM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,192
Teacher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kallah View Post
If those are indeed the only two state-level programs offering cash that's a budget of roughly $400 million, and 10% of that being spent out of state, especially in a small state which boarders many other small states, just doesn't strike me as unusual or cause for alarm.
I make this correction only because I think it's very important to keep the numbers in perspective -- not to pick on Kallah. Less than $4 million out of $389 million is around one (1) percent, not ten. So around one percent is accessed out of state, and a fraction of that one percent is being questioned as potentially improper.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Couple witnesses horrific cruise ship death TallGeekyGirl Crash and Burn 3 01 January 2016 11:57 AM
Cruise ship worker accused of raping passenger Alarm Police Blotter 8 20 February 2014 04:19 PM
Man charged with tossing wife off cruise ship snopes Police Blotter 0 20 June 2013 06:13 PM
Disney cruise ship evacuation procedures snopes Disney 42 07 January 2010 03:07 PM
Casinos Boom in Katrina’s Wake as Cash Pours In keokuk Hurricane Katrina 0 16 July 2007 06:32 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:18 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.