Reporting from Sacramento — Nearly $4.8 million has been withdrawn from ATMs at casinos and poker rooms with welfare benefits cards from 2007 through last month, state officials said last week. The vast majority of that, $4.4 million, was withdrawn at tribal casinos.
Good to know that California is back in the green on their budget and can now afford to fund strippers and slot machine pulls for the citizens of their beautiful state. Here’s a somewhat plausible reason for a most likely statistically minimal population of card users:
“Casinos in some rural places have become like little hubs of the community,” said Michael Herald, a lobbyist for the Western Center on Law and Poverty. “My guess is there’s a small contingent of CalWorks recipients who work at, or live near, these casinos.”
Now here’s my story on Food Stamp Fraud…. More years ago than I like to admit I was paying my way through my first year of college by working at a convenience store outside of Detroit. Specifically the 11PM to 7AM shift. Now while that was a circus of interesting, and sometimes frightening, things one of the first scams to run across my sticky linoleum counter was the Stamp Scam. It was simple and common. Let’s say you hade $20 in food stamps but wanted some smokes and a 40 ouncer of beer. We called then “40 Dogs” back in the day. You’d just amble up to one of your friends, or a complete stranger, in the parking lot who was buying chips/soda etc… and offer a swap for cash. Back then it was about 2 to 1. You would pony up the $20 stamp and get $10 in cash. Pretty simple, real common, and very illegal.
It’s good to see that the ever efficient government has cut out the middle man these days. You can now commit fraud without those pesky drunken buddies or a potential plain clothes cops slowing you down. I mean who want’s to be “the guy” in the city lockup after being snagged for food stamp fraud? You may as well change your name to Nancy and start putting on lipstick you had to buy from the prisoner store. All you need to become a hardened criminal now is your state issued ATM card. It will cost you $1.50 in transaction fees though. That will suck, but you have to feed those evil damn banks after all. That kind of makes the California State Government CalWorks a pretty successful $4.8 million money laundering organized crime ring. I wonder if the Feds will use RICO against them as accessories after the fact?