You can defraud some of the people all of time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t defraud all of the people all of the time.
Food stamp recipients were selling their benefits online in exchange for money, housing or even art, according to a report federal investigators released Thursday that showed states manage to catch just a fraction of potential fraud in the sprawling program.
Use of the food stamps, now officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, has skyrocketed under President Obama, reaching 47 million recipients at a cost of $76 billion last year. But states recovered just $74 million in fraudulent payments the previous year, according to the Government Accountability Office.
GAO investigators reviewed records from 11 states and found they lacked sufficient staff and tools to catch fraud in the ballooning program.
“Such rapid program growth can increase the potential for fraud unless appropriate agency controls are in place to help minimize these risks,” the investigators said in their report.
The most egregious examples of government waste, fraud or abuse from TWT … more >
In one online posting from Jacksonville, Florida, someone was asking for $100 cash in exchange for $228 in food stamps. One ad from Raleigh, North Carolina, offered 10 days of cooking and cleaning services in exchange for food stamps. A Charlotte, North Carolina, poster said he would trade food stamps for beer, and a Houston ad proposed exchanging food stamps for a catalytic converter.
Then there was the Worcester, Massachusetts, advertisement proposing up to $3,000 in electronic benefit food stamp transfers in exchange for art.
Investigators said most states surveyed reported that their employees were overloaded with recipients. In Massachusetts, just 37 investigators were responsible for monitoring almost 500,000 SNAP recipients. State investigators were also responsible for pursuing fraud in other federal programs such as Medicaid.
One analyst said a lack of employees in the program is no excuse.
“The issue of fraud in food stamps is more than just understaffing for Food and Nutrition Services,” Nicole Kaeding, a budget analyst with the Cato Institute, told The Times. “According to the Department of Agriculture, improper claims amount to 3.4 percent. That’s almost $3 billion of taxpayer money that is wasted annually on fraud and abuse.”
Three billion dollars of fraud may sound like a lot of stolen money, but it’s only four cents out of every dollar. You’d forget it like lint in your pocket.
But the feds recover only $74 million out of that $3 billion, barely two cents out of every thieved dollar. Put another way, the fraudsters get away with almost 98% of their deceit. That’s not a bad investment.
That’s the way it is with Big Government. For every deserving mouth you may feed, there are scores of slobbering lips sucking at the teat of the bedraggled taxpayer.
According to the findings of an investigation conducted by the Government Accountability Office which were presented to Congress on Wednesday, some of those taxpayer-funded subsidies are not merely legally problematic but are also subject to extensive fraud.
The GAO found that 11 of 12 applications for federal assistance while applying for insurance provided through the ACA using “fictitious identities” were accepted.
As pathetic as that record is, it’s four times better than the welfare cheats.
PS: It’s not that hard to catch the cheats when they advertise. How many more rely on word of mouth?
Last night’s snowstorm postponed the snow job that is Deval Patrick’s State of the State address. But don’t worry, I can sum up the State of the State in three words: Kelly Jean Gagnon.
Age 37, she was arrested in Taunton last week and charged with possession of 19 grams of heroin.
And 13 EBT cards. That’s right, 13 EBT cards.
So governor, how’s that crackdown on welfare fraud coming along?