Several years ago, a Brooklyn rapper produced a song about the use of the government-issed Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. In it, “Mr. EBT” is seen using a number of EBT cards (including those not issued to him) in order to purchase copious amounts of junk food and attempt to buy drugs and alcohol. The video ignited a conversation around the issue and suggested that very little oversight is given towards the use of these taxpayer-funded welfare dollars.
CBS Los Angeles recently conducted an investigative analysis of LA County welfare system. After obtaining a database of county welfare recipients, reporter David Goldstein traced millions of dollars to exotic locales and questionable establishments outside of California.
In the span of 18 months, welfare recipients spent over $4.5 million out-of-state, including at ATMs in casinos in Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and New York.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, nearly one third of the money—or about $1.5 million—disbursed outside of California was spent in Sin City.
Other recipients withdrew cash from bars and tattoo parlors.
According to CBS, as long as recipients still reside in Los Angeles County, money spent outside of the county is legally valid.
Read the full article at CBS Los Angeles.