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POLICE BEAT: Expensive handbag and EBT card?

Letter by Jerry L. Heitzman, Lacey on Dec. 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm with 30 Comments »
December 19, 2011 1:40 pm

The article in Sunday’s News Tribune regarding the stolen Coach handbag begs a question: Why was the victim of this $1,150 loss carrying an EBT card as well as a state DSHS card? If she qualifies for both cards, how can she afford this expensive handbag (along with $400 in cash and an unspecified number of prepaid gift cards and credit cards)?

This appears to be another example of how poorly our state oversees the state welfare program.

Leave a comment Comments → 30
  1. LarryFine says:

    Indeed… or she’s a shop lifter.

  2. Jerry you hit this one right on the head. No question that something is amiss. My son delivers items to section8 housing and is amazed at the flat screens and boze sound systems that he sees. These are things we cannot afford but them we do not get government assistence.

  3. hansgruber says:

    Funny, I thought the same thing as I read that article Jerry.

  4. surething says:

    Sadly, many of the recipients are not married, but have adults in the house that do work. If you claim they do not live with you, you get the free income, seen it time after time.

    I had a friend years ago on Section 8 that have a huge 3 bedroom apartment, always had money to go out, buy nice clothes, travel…..because her boyfriend “did not live with her”. He worked for Boeing, and she got child support under the table.

    People will always find a way to scam the system.

  5. sandblower says:

    The theft story sounded strange in the first place so I would not be surprised if the purse and its contents turned out to be phony.
    I hope someone is following up with the purported victim.

  6. cclngthr says:

    oldman4,
    If you look at the TV’s on sale now, they all are flatscreens. No tube type of TV is sold in stores, unless they are used.

    I bought my flatscreen for $299.00.

    A lot of the time, what people on welfare do is rent stuff, such as furniture, flatscreem TV’s, etc. Rentacenter stores allow people to rent stuff who are on welfare because welfare families tend not to have credit histories that are good.

  7. cclngthr says:

    surething,
    It is easy to scam the system. Although section 8 requires verification of income, etc, they don’t search who is living in the household well enough. Housing authorities typically rely on what is on the application, not doing google searches and spot checking any USPS or UPS deliveries to an address. HUD is able to do a USPS search by address and can verify what mail is being sent to an address. Same with other shippers. Banks and financial institutions also can tell HUD who is living at the address by giving out information on a specific address.

    One loophole that people use is people register cars and give an address that is not their physical address. The DOL does not require people to give a physical address. This can be changed.

  8. alindasue says:

    surething said, “…and she got child support under the table”

    One does not get child support “under the table” while on welfare. My mother received welfare for a couple years during my childhood and DSHS went after my father to collect child support directly from him. It was required that the father’s information be provided when she applied for assistance.

    I’ve bought some pretty “expensive” items at thrift stores for under $20, and as cclgnthr pointed out some of those “expensive” items, like flat screen TVs, are now just normal priced items. Recently, someone from church was moving to Hawaii and gave away at no cost several expensive items including a large refrigerator and a flat screen TV. There are many perfectly legitimate ways for someone with little money to obtain an “expensive” item or three.

    It’s way too easy to judge other people without knowing all the facts of their situation.

  9. surething says:

    Alindasue: people who do not go through court for childsupport, and have fathers that work cash jobs, are receiving child support under the table. I have several friends who have this agreement with the father. You don’t have to put a father on a birth certificate…..who does welfare collect from in that case?

  10. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    This is why I say that until ALL waste, fraud and abuse at DSHS is addressed not a penny more in tax. In fact I will do everything I can to not pay any state tax. I am on my third year of no lic. tab renewal. Stave the beast and avoid state tax until they stop wasting your money. Do all you can to avoid funding the status quo.

  11. ReadNLearn says:

    Now hold on nelly!

    What is so surprising about a welfare recipient having $1100 in cash and a Coach purse? That’s appropriate with her SUV.

    Why is anyone surprised? Do you know what percentage of welfare recipients have cell phones? It’s higher than for working mothers.

  12. LarryFine says:

    As I stated a few weeks ago… while volunteering I was amazed at some of the vehicles that people drove and the clothes they were wearing to come get food from the food bank. A couple Escalades, plenty of high end SUV’s, etc. Those are the greedy people… they are taking charity away from people who really need it.
    I saw 2 women open the back of their Escalade to put their “booty” in and lo and behold… there were already bags of “free stuff” filling the back end.

  13. bobcat1a says:

    Well, taxed enough just told us everything we need to know. Just another welfare rider. Freeloaders are despicable!

  14. yabetchya says:

    bobcat, you are right “Freeloaders are despicable!” People who REALLY are in need are being ignored,passed over, by the ones who know how to scam the system. My sister was one.

  15. Jerry, 1,550 is nothing. My wife use to work for a property management co that manage low income apartments . She would bring home work and I see that a lot of the low income people had has much a fifty thousand dollars in saving and that the government would not count that for anything they were not require to use any of that money to help pay their bills. It’s why I don’t feel sorry for any one on assistance because there’s a lot of them are defrauding the system and they are allowed to spend there EBT any way they wish thanks to the ACLU. The only thing that can’t be bought with the EBT card is lottery tickets and the way around that is to get cash out.
    Our government reps say that they are suppose to use for necessary items but if you go on the Washington state web site it says they can use it for anything but lottery

  16. Of course there is absolutely no possibility that the bag is a remnant of a bygone era when the lady was not on welfare.

  17. or that the bag was a cheap knock off costing $50 or so.

  18. or that the purse was misidentified not a Coach at all.

  19. blakeshouse says:

    My wife is a cashier at Walmart and she sees examples of this all the time. People using EBT and WIC coupons coming thru her line and paying for the uncovered items with credit cards even gold cards. She also sees 90% of the govt handout being used for nothing but junk food. There is seemingly no oversite at all, but hey, this IS the SOCIALIST STATE OF WA. We are reaping what was sewn.

  20. denismenis says:

    I think the judgements being laid here are inferences based on some bias – without all the facts. I’m not defending fraud that can happen in the system but this conservative judgemental tripe gets old.

    Perhaps, upon issuing cards, DSHS should have a signed statement from the applicant that says “I promise to look poor.”

  21. LarryFine says:

    I think they’re based on first hand, eye witness accounts.

  22. denismenis says:

    True, Larry, if you understood my point. Conclusions drawn by the article and first hand accounts are different items.

  23. LarryFine says:

    Ah… ;)

  24. BlaineCGarver says:

    If there is free stuff, people will scam it. For several years as a single dad, I could have got free stuff, but managed my affairs well enough that my job covered everything. Living below your means is mandatory in these bad years. I still remain debt free.

  25. denismenis says:

    Agreed to a point, Blaine. A entrepeneur friend of mine once said “free isn’t just a price, it’s also the value one will place on it.” It’s something I calibrate in my values as well.

    Merry Christmas and good Tidings to all my compatriots on these boards.

  26. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Incredible that people jump to the defense of the freeloader.

    Guess what, if I was dirt poor and someone gave me a 60 inch Tv, I would sell it and off debt or save for a child’s education. No different then getting a hand full of cash.

    The excuses are an example of why WA elects people who let this happen knowingly. No pride, abuse the system mentality. And people make excuses for it! Sorry, but before you tax someone else’s money (your money if you pay any tax at all) you should have to show that it is a last resort. No car except for special exceptions, tv over 16 inches (how did we get by 20 years ago?), etc. Finance class are preferable to EBT.

  27. People see what they want to see, which is way eye witness testimony is always questionable.

  28. Do you know what percentage of welfare recipients have cell phones?

    Do you know how few homes have land lines? Or how few pay phones are left? Or how the monthly costs for land lines compare to cell phones. Cell phones are hardly luxury items anymore.

    If someone’s home situation is unstable, a cell phone may be the only option.

  29. btw – I’m one of the few people I know who don’t have a cell phone.

  30. delia2069 says:

    Just because she has that money and a coach purse doesnt mean that she is a freeloader. It could be that she had all this stuff before getting state assistance. Alot of people have fell on hard times $1100 could be all her unemployment checks saved for the month and it is what she has saved to pay her rent. Or maybe she has a job and its not enough for food so maybe she gets $100 foodstamps a month to help her out. If you all didnt know there are TV commercials and radio commercials that say the state will give you a free cellphone if you are a recipient of state assistance. Do you homework ppl. Not everyone is out to work the system.

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