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Millions In CA Welfare Spent In HI, Vegas

From the Los Angeles Times:

$69 million in California welfare money drawn out of state

Las Vegas tops the list with $11.8 million spent at casinos or taken from ATMs, but transactions in Hawaii, Miami, Guam and elsewhere also raise questions. Officials say budget cuts hinder investigations.

By Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times

October 4, 2010

More than $69 million in California welfare money, meant to help the needy pay their rent and clothe their children, has been spent or withdrawn outside the state in recent years, including millions in Las Vegas, hundreds of thousands in Hawaii and thousands on cruise ships sailing from Miami.

State-issued aid cards have been used at hotels, shops, restaurants, ATMs and other places in 49 other states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, according to data obtained by The Times from the California Department of Social Services. Las Vegas drew $11.8 million of the cash benefits, far more than any other destination. The money was accessed from January 2007 through May 2010.

Welfare recipients must prove they can’t afford life’s necessities without government aid: A single parent with two children generally must earn less than $14,436 a year to qualify for the cash assistance and becomes ineligible once his or her income exceeds about $20,000, said Lizelda Lopez, spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services.

Round-trip flights from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Orbitz.com Sunday started at $419 — more than 80% of the average monthly cash benefit for a single parent of two on CalWorks, the state’s main aid program

The $387,908 accessed in Hawaii includes transactions at more than a thousand big-box stores, grocery stores, convenience shops and ATMs on all the major islands. At least $234,000 was accessed on Oahu, $70,626 on Maui, $39,883 on Hawaii and $22,170 on Kauai.

The list includes $12,433 spent at the upscale Ala Moana shopping center, $3,030 spent at a group of gift shops next to Jimmy Buffett’s Beachcomber restaurant on Waikiki Beach and $2,146 withdrawn from ATMs on the island of Lanai, home to a pair of Four Seasons resorts and little else

Of the nearly $12 million accessed in Las Vegas, more than $1 million was spent or withdrawn at shops and casino hotels on, or within a few blocks of, the 4.5-mile strip. The list includes $8,968 at the Tropicana, $7,995 at the Venetian and its Grand Canal Shoppes, and $1,332 at Tix 4 Tonight, seller of discount admission for such acts as Cirque du Soleil.

Although many Las Vegas casinos block the use of welfare cards in ATMs on gambling floors, more than $34,700 has been spent or withdrawn from the ATM at a 7-Eleven in the shadow of Steve Wynn’s new Encore casino and a couple of blocks south of Circus Circus…

Of the $1.5 million accessed in Florida, $13,109 was spent or withdrawn in South Beach, most of that at bars and restaurants along trendy Lincoln Road. More than $7,000 was withdrawn from ATMs a few hours north, at Walt Disney World.

The data also show $16,010 withdrawn from 14 cruise ships sailing from ports around the world — Long Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing. Eight sail primarily from Miami

Look, ‘poor people’ have just as much right to a vacation as you do. Probably more.

So you have no right to complain about subsidizing them.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 4th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

11 Responses to “Millions In CA Welfare Spent In HI, Vegas”

  1. RightWinger says:

    What an absurd excuse……….

    “Officials say budget cuts hinder investigations.”

    Yeah, its real hard to see what card # was used at the ATM and then check the file to see who received that card. Then you call the police and have the card holder arrested for fraud. Why that must take weeks of investigative work and 100’s of hours of manpower to crack those cases wide open! Imagine the overtime needed.

    Makes you wonder how much in Obama “Stimulous” ended up being used in similar circumstances.


  2. proreason says:

    What would our taxes be if the government prevented fraud.

    Oh wait, silly me.

    The government wouldn’t ever investigate itself.

  3. GetBackJack says:

    II grew up in America. Somewhere along the way Reality morphed and now I live in a Vampire Society.

  4. JohnMG says:

    …..”Officials say budget cuts hinder investigations…..”

    Maybe if the people responsible for ensuring that fraud didn’t take place had been doing their jobs, budget cuts wouldn’t have been necessary.

    Just a thought.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      BINGO, JMG!!!
      Scrape 3 layers of red tape off the top and demand that the last layer do its’ job or be canned. Enough molly coddling and excuses for excuses!!

    • NoNeoCommies says:

      If their budget gets slashed for not catching frauds and they get bonuses for catching them, I bet things would be drastically different.

  5. Coco Q. Rico says:

    I am so glad you guys picked up this piece! It’s outrageous, isn’t it? One of the bloggers at my site did a piece on it with an accompanying videoclip: http://colorfulconservative.blogspot.com/2010/10/where-does-welfare-money-go.html

    I think what’s funny is watching people try to talk their way out of the obvious implications of this.

  6. Mae says:

    If your purpose is to bankrupt the state of California (or the U. S. treasury), then this is perfectly OK.

    Dealing with the bureaucracy personnel in much of CA is akin to dealing with not-quite-literate 8th graders. So when you ask them to be responsible, think 13 years old.

  7. NoNeoCommies says:

    I once tried to turn someone in to the Welfare people.
    His brother-in-law gave me his name and address, told me how he was the shadow owner of the house he was “renting” and the restaurant he ran.
    He told me how he stole produce from farmers and raised chickens for the restaurant in his backyard (against zoning laws).

    The welfare folks wanted me to do their work for them.
    They weren’t interested in looking into the case at all!
    Why should they?
    If you cut the welfare rolls, they might lose their jobs.

    • GetBackJack says:

      I 100% believe you. I once called the local sheriff’s office on a van load of obviously illegals and their sole response was Thank You For Calling (snore).

    • confucius says:


      How do you know Doc Thompson?

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