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Welfare recipients withdrew $1.8 million from casino ATMs

California welfare recipients withdrew more than $1.8 million in taxpayer cash on casino floors between October 2009 and May 2010, state officials said Thursday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also issued an executive order Thursday requiring welfare recipients to sign a pledge that they will use their cash benefits only to “meet the basic subsistence needs” of their families. It gave the state Department of Social Services seven days to produce a plan to reduce other types of “waste, fraud and abuse” in the welfare program.

The moves come in response to a Los Angeles Times story describing how Department of Social Services officials failed to notice that the debit cards they issue to welfare recipients could be used at more than half of the tribal casinos and state-licensed poker rooms in California.

--Jack Dolan in Sacramento

Comments () | Archives (80)

I give up.

Sign a pledge!!! Oh, please....that'll work. No wonder the state is broke, and no wonder more and more illegals come to CA....free gambling money with no tracking or accountability...whoohoo!

Sounds like they need to start issuing paper food stamps and pre-filled gov't issued travelers/money order like checks that cannot be used for anything but food, utilities, and possibly to subsidize their rent, or even work out some sort of system where landlords would receive a direct deposit from the individuals welfare acct.

So what happens to the people that did it? Are their benefits going to be reduced to recoup the money?

Fodd & Shelter. The rest you have to figure out yourself! Nuf said!

They should cancel those credit card E.B.T. It'S a FRAUUUUUUD

Obviously the State knows which casinos took how much and when. Tell them to give it back. If they so much as hint that it's ok to take welfare money, double it.

Those cards should only work at approved retail outlets with no cash back over $50.

Another reason to drastically limit social programs.

This is just a tip of the iceberg. I have seen some of the welfare recipients even drive the fanciest cars like Tahoe and Mercedez Benz. Often i asked myself, how in the world is that possible..and I can only sigh in disbelief.

Wow.. unbelievable. I guess this adds to why the state is bleeding money. Why not re-code the cards for necessities only? Program the the cards to be rejected from gambling establishments "insufficient funds"....Sign a pledge? Didn't they have to sign something to get welfare? And have a chat with the Tribes involved.
I'm sure the tax payers of this State didn't sign up for this.

WTF!!!! welfare recipients get atm cards from the state!!!
Are food stamps to degrading now!!We need to start burning some of the officials that enact this kind of crap!!

What course of action is the government going to do to get the taxpayers money back. This is BS! I effin hate people to take advantage of the system they need to be punished.

When it's not your money it's easy to just go with the flow. But to raise more money everyone still votes to screw the students and taxpayers. Tuition hikes of 30 percent, layoff teachers, cuts to education and arts programs. Thanks Sacramento. Debit cards...debit cards...really? debit cards? all we get is oh sorry about that. First fire the officials who screwed this up and then please get rid of debit cards and give these people food vouchers. Thanks.

If they can identity those people they should cut them off from benefits for good. I really can't think of anything more irresponsible than partying with your children's food money that was wasn't even earned but given as charity in the 1st place. In fact, I think they should go to jail for a few months. I'm a liberal, but lets be reasonable, these people are complete trash and don't deserve any social services.

My mama said the casino's foods tasted better than the grocery store's foods.

Have them sign a pledge. Ya that's the ticket. That will stop them. Next.

So , what happens to the 1.8 million ? Is the fact the people missapropriated the money or the fact that casinos and poker parlors cashed the cards just going to be swept under the rug ? This is fraud the law needs to do something like put these theives in jail .

Sign a pledge? But in a minute, this poker machine is really hot!!!!

This is just the latest in the said saga which is the state of California waste. When i get my check and see one third go to taxes, it makes me sick! People who have given up in life are spending my money foolishly aided by the same people that tell me they are going to have less money for my kids education. The only way to save is to cut teacher jobs, firmen and police. I guess we need to give people who cheat an advantage, because they just did not have a chance in life. I work hard to make my life better, it just seems to me the people we hire should not get better benifits than those of us footing the bill, with the fruit of our labor.

Restrictions? Monitoring? Case Reviews? I'm sorry but that might offend some people if they have to be held accountable. That's not what America's about! We're about each getting what is fair and right. From those according to ability to those according to need, isn't that it? I'm sure those folks had legitimate reasons to utilize their hard-earned welfare benefits at casinos. There is no need to address this 'situation.'

Maybe the state should stop playing into this mentality by not advertising the lottery the way they do. Of course poor people gamble especially when there are no jobs. Rich people don't need to gamble or worry about unemployment.

I used to work at a free health clinic and was always stunned that many of the people/families who used this service frequently had MUCH nicer cars than me. And I went to medical school. Now I want to vomit.

I applaud the L.A. Times for exposing this fraud and for forcing state officials to think about it and maybe even do something about it.

It looks as if $1.8 million were taken from casino ATM's between last October and May. We don't know the total. But, whatever it is, it would help to reduce the state's budget deficit.

And, what is the pay of the state government officials who overlooked the casino ATM withdrawals which other states had already cracked down on?

If the budget situation was not so serious, the government's failure to manage taxpayer money reasonably well would be almost laughable.

Thank you tax paying suckers. Work longer, work harder so I, a poor welfare recipient, can enjoy life without paying my share.

Yea right!!! Sign a pledge??? Hell I will sign dozens of your pledges, just give me a welfare card, I need to go to the casino this weekend.

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