WRGB Search Results

The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

You Paid For It : EBT Fraud

ALBANY-- New York State stands to lose $120 million if they don't address the lack of oversight problem they face when dealing with the state's Electronic Benefits card program.

    The state's EBT card program falls under the umbrella of the food stamp program. Some of those who are issued an EBT card have cash dropped into an account each month, and that cash can be accessed through an ATM with the card. The cash is meant to be used for food or other assistance such as heating bills during the winter, according to a state website.
   
However, in February, CBS6 revealed hundreds of EBT card transactions from inside Capital Region bars, strip clubs, and gambling facilities.

If those transaction do not stop before February 2014, New York State will lose $120 million in federal funding for the program.

Part of the federal Jobs Creation Act of 2012 contained a stipulation that read states will lose funding if they don't enact policies to stop abuse. Specifically the federal law states cards can't  be used in bars, strips clubs or gambling facilities. If the abuse continues states will lose 5% funding.

In New York State $120 million is on the line, said Senator Betty Little, R-Glens Falls.

"That is the scary part, that is where we have to get the limitations on what you can use your public assistance cash for," said Little.

Senator Little was one of a handful of Republican Senators who introduced and helped pass a bill in June of 2013 that would prohibit the use of the EBT cards in places such as bars, and strip clubs.

The assembly never acted on the bill.

Officials with the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the agency that oversees the program, responded to the complaints of possible abuse in February saying they were working with other states to become compliant with federal law.