By Joe Schoffstall Subscribe to Joe Schoffstall RSS Follow Joe Schoffstall on Twitter
$43,000 of Kansas Welfare Money Withdrawn From ATMs at Strip Clubs,Casinos
April 10, 2013
Tens of thousands of dollars intended to buy gas, groceries and other necessities for Kansas welfare recipients may have been spent onstrippers, liquor, and gambling during a three-month period studied by a watchdog group.The investigation,conducted by KansasWatchdog.org, flagged $43,000 dollars in questionable spending by Kansans receiving TemporaryAssistance for Needy Families."From August to October 2012, Sunflower State welfare recipients withdrew more than $43,000 from ATMs at places like
Vegas Video Adult Superstore
strip club, just to name a few," writes Travis PerryofKansas Watchdog.As part of the TANF program, federal taxpayer dollars are moved to the states in block grants, with the goal of helping to move find jobs – “andturn welfare into a program of temporary assistance,” says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. States give needy people debitcards (Electronic Benefit Transfer or EBT cards), which can be used to make purchases or withdraw cash from ATMs.In Kansas, a family of four can get up to $497 a month.KansasWatchdog found that the largest amount of questionable ATM withdrawals came from smoke shops and cigarette retailers, totaling$19,302.42 during the three-month period. Cash advance and payday loan locations came in second ($8,578.10), followed by liquor storewithdrawals ($6,500.98), casinos ($4,532.25), bars and restaurants (1,298.45) and miscellaneous locations ($3,271.44).Here are some examples of the ATM locations from which welfare cash was withdrawn: This is not acomplete list:Speedy Cash – $3,621.50Ace Cash Express – $4,956.607th Street Casino – $2,455Buffalo Run Casino – $218Choctaw Casino – $746Golden Eagle Casino – $704.75The Legends shopping center – $1,056Smoke Eazy – $922.50Bullfrogs Live – $102.50Dave and Busters – $387.50The Kansas Department for Children and Families (KDCF)websitesays recipients would be declined if they attempted to use their EBT cardsto buy tobacco, alcohol, and lottery tickets as a direct purchase. However, a majority of these locations have ATMs.Angela de Rocha, the communications director for KDCF, said there's no way to stop questionable withdrawals.“You can take your Vision card into a strip joint or Disney Land or Graceland or wherever and use that to get cash. There’s nothing we can doabout that. We can’t control that,” de Rocha previouslytoldthe group.The data, which Kansas Watchdog eventually received through an open-records request, shows that between August and October 2012, $1.5million in transactions were made by Kansas TANF recipients. Questionable withdrawals amounted to less than 3 percent of the total.
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$43,000 of Kansas Welfare Money Withdrawn From ATMs at Strip Club...http://cnsnews.com/blog/joe-schoffstall/43000-kansas-welfare-money-wi...1 of 24/10/2013 3:22 PM