Tennessee refugee agency running out of your money on eve of World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day is tomorrow in case you didn’t catch those expensive-looking advertisements from the UNHCR on TV.

It’s a useful news hook for a story about Bridge Resettlement Services in Tennessee and a charity event they are putting on because they are running out of taxpayer money as the ponzi scheme that is refugee resettlement collapses.

What do I mean by that?  The agencies,  like Bridge (a subcontractor of a big kahoona federal contractor–Church World Service) are paid by the head to resettle refugees and when the flow is slowed as it is right now, and they still have previously resettled refugees to care for (while new money isn’t coming in) the ponzi scheme collapses.  Remember how Bernie Madoff paid off his older clients with the new clients money, but never really invested anything, well that is sort of how this works.

So here is the story from Metro Pulse in Knoxville:

Since 1982, the unusual organization, which combines federal grants with mostly church-based volunteer efforts, has resettled hundreds of approved refugees in the Knoxville area. Most who are granted asylum by the U.S. government are victims of war or severe oppression. The majority of the immigrants Bridge has worked with lately are Iraqis, but the organization has also established colonies of Burmese, Rwandans, Ethiopians, Cubans, and others. Knoxville has recently welcomed a significant population of refugees from the tiny, extremely poor African nation of Burundi.

Paid by the head?  Yes! You see, they say so right here:

Bridge’s federal grant money is tied to the number of refugees allocated to Knoxville. That number had been growing until recently, but because of a new security protocol instituted this year, the paperwork involved in approving refugees has slowed—and so, temporarily, has the organization’s revenue. Bridge got only 14 refugees to process this past April, just under a third as many as arrived the previous April, and therefore much less federal funding allocated. Though Bridge has fewer incoming refugees this summer, they’re still dealing with the settlers they’ve taken on. They still have administrative costs to keep up with, and need to make up for what they believe to be a temporary gap.

When the refugee program was first debated, passed Congress and signed into law (Ted Kennedy/Joe Biden/Jimmy Carter) in 1980 it was envisioned that these non-profit groups would be in a public-private partnership with governement, but as it is freely admitted below, Bridge gets 95% of its funding from you!

Jennifer Cornwell is director of the organization, based on Middlebrook Pike in West Knoxville. It employs a staff of eight but relies heavily on as many as 100 local volunteers, who teach English or help with critical transportation. Local churches help sponsor some refugee families, Cornwell says, but about 95 percent of their funding comes from the federal refugee-resettlement programs.

So next time you think, aren’t these church folks so nice to do this, remember you foot the bill!

Founded in 1982, Bridge works with both the government and Church World Service and Episcopal Migration Ministries. Local churches involved also include Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian congregations.

Bridge:  we especially like Iraqis!

Decisions on who comes to Knoxville are made by federal refugee-resettlement programs, and are based on factors including cost of living and employment opportunities, but especially on the populations already here. Knoxville is already home to a large enough population of Iraqis that new refugees can make connections with them and find their way around; with Bridge’s help, 153 more Iraqis joined them last year.

Filing a lawsuit and blocking the FBI

We know how much Bridge likes Iraqis!  One of the earliest posts I wrote at RRW in 2007 was about how Bridge joined a lawsuit with CAIR and the ACLU to stop the FBI from interviewing some Iraqis the feds were concerned about, here.    In light of what just happened in neighboring Kentucky (Iraqi refugee terror suspects arrested) wouldn’t you like to know the feds were interviewing Iraqis from time to time?

And, come to think of it, I wonder if they used your money for the lawsuit?

Bridge’s financial position

Have a look at some of Bridge’s finances by checking out their most recent Form 990 (2009) here.

They had $687,085 in gross income for the year.

Of that, $641,801 came from federal taxpayers (government grants).

Other contributions in their public-private partnership amounted to $39,781 (about 6%).

They had salaries of $268,769 and benefits of $69,737, board compensation $51,497 and payroll taxes at $27,942 which comes to a total of $417,945 in salaries and benefits.  They spent $10,339 on conferences, conventions and meetings and a whopping $32,022 on travel.   And, there is a bunch of other stuff!   Looks like we are approaching a half a million $ just keeping their office open—sure doesn’t look like there is much left for the refugees!

Here is an idea, get more volunteers for the office, find more sponsors for refugees, forget conventions/meetings and travel.  And, tell me, why does the board need compensation? Isn’t this supposed to be charitable work?

In honor of Fathers Day: Food stamp fraudster Dads….

…..just doing it for the children.  And, what do you know! they are all named Mohammed!   

This is so funny, Baron at Gates of Vienna writing in a post entitled, “Culturally enriched food stamp fraud” refers to a story about a Somali Muslim immigrant food stamp scam having a “Mohammed coeficient” of 100% because LOL! everyone involved is named Mohammed (or a variation of the spelling of the name of their prophet).*

Read Gates of Vienna’s special in “The International Cultural Enrichment News!” where Baron Bodissey has more revelations about a food stamp scam from Michigan that we first reported here last month.  Such a good Dad!  And, isn’t diversity just grand!  Read the whole story at Gates of Vienna.

Another Mohammad fraudster!

Coincidentally, just in time for Fathers Day, we have news from O’Fallon, Illinois about another Mohammad (and such a good Dad) going to jail for food stamp fraud too—this one totaling $1.5 million dollars.  This Mohammad is Jordanian and he is worried about his family if he gets deported after serving a measly two years in jail.

From the News Democrat:

An O’Fallon man who managed a Washington Park convenience store will serve two years and nine months in prison for a food-stamps-for-cash scam that cost the government $1.5 million.

Rami Mohammad, 33, a Jordanian citizen who entered the United States in 2004, received the sentence Thursday in federal court in East St. Louis. Mohammad was the manager of the Quick Stop store in Washington Park.

After receiving reports about the store being involved in food-stamp fraud, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General began an undercover investigation.

The investigation showed that people were going into the store and conducting transactions with food stamps — which involves the use of a card similar to a credit card or debit card, rather than actual paper stamps — but the customers weren’t carrying any groceries when they exited the store.

Mohammad told agents he was accepting prepayment for items that he had to specially order. But he was caught on audio and video engaging in a cash-back scheme in which Mohammad took the value from people’s food-stamp cards and gave them smaller amounts of cash in return.

Steve Wigginton, U.S. attorney for the southern district of Illinois, said the food-stamp program was defrauded of more than $1.5 million.

He will only do two years in jail and then possibly be deported.  He will be ordered to pay restitution but he likely has long ago spent the money, or even more likely he sent your tax dollars out of the country (so many food stamp scammers are found to have done this!).

The court also ordered Mohammad to pay restitution, though it was unclear whether he’ll be able to make any repayment. In addition, the court informed Mohammad that he’ll likely be deported after he finishes his sentence.

But, waahhhhh!, don’t send us back to Jordan!  There is lousy health care in Jordan and the schools stink too!

Mohammad’s wife testified at his sentencing Thursday, saying she doesn’t want him to be deported because health care isn’t as good in Jordan as it is in the United States, and their children would have to go to inferior schools in Jordan. [OMG-ed]

Happy Fathers Day!

* Here is one post from 2009 where I noted the common thread in the scams—Mohammads are everywhere in these stories!  After all, we are infidels and in Islam it’s just hunky-dory to rip off infidels.  Type ‘food stamp fraud’ into our search function for dozens more stories like this one!