There is a huge black market in food stamp (EBT) cards with little incentive to bring the fraud under control. One of the driving forces is the large corporations who benefit from each and every additional person who signs up for the taxpayer handout.
Who knew that those 95% of Iraqi refugees on food stamps benefited JP Morgan Chase & Co?
So, we have big business demanding cheap imported immigrant labor and big business pushing food stamp usage—almost makes me want to be an Occupy Wall Streeter!
As Schweizer (Government Accountability Institute (GAI) president Peter Schweizer), who appeared on the special with Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon, described, someone may take $150 in cash in exchange for a $250 EBT card. [Our experience is that the seller usually gets 50% or less.–ed]
While nearly 220,000 stores take EBT cards, only 100 federal employees have been tasked to monitor fraud. In addition, the USDA only monitors less than 10% of all food stamp vendors.*
As a result, there is no way to measure the amount of fraud in the $75 billion-a-year food stamp industry. Government bureaucrats have said in their defense that only 1% of the food stamps program is subject to fraud. [Estimates are much higher than 1%, but even at that wouldn’t you think that $750 million would warrant a few more investigations of the mom & pop run stores?–ed]
“It’s very easy to do because it is a card that is interchangeable,” Schweizer said, noting the government does not want to even implement photo ID on the cards so as not to stigmatize the EBT card recipients.
In GAI’s investigation, undercover EBT card users were able to trade their cards for cash at stores. They used the cards to buy cigarettes, beer, and condoms, and store clerks easily recorded those purchases as “food” purchases.
The fraud is not limited to stores in big cities like New York and Los Angeles. An investigation in Florida found two out of every three stores engaged in EBT fraud. Minnesota ranks fourth in EBT fraud and Wisconsin has many reports of EBT cards being stolen. [Stolen cards are replaced with no questions asked and the original card is still out there in use—ed]
Yet despite this evidence of rampant fraud, Schweizer argued there is no incentive to combat the fraudulent use of taxpayer dollars because those involved in the food stamps program do not want to destroy the profitable black market.
* It is very important for you to keep an eye on the convenience stores in your neighborhoods and tell local police about any suspicious activity.
For more on Food Stamp Fraud see our archive here—we have dozens and dozens of posts on busted immigrant-run convenience stores.
Update: Richard Falknor has a very good overview of the problems with the Food Stamp Program and calls on the Republicans in the House to do something, here, at Blue Ridge Forum.