Welfare recipients took out cash at bars, liquor stores, porn shops, hookah parlors and even strip clubs, and not just to buy food and toiletries, an investigation found. A database of hundreds of millions of Electronic Benefit Transfer records from January 2011 to July 2012, obtained by reporters through a Freedom of Information request, showed welfare recipients using their EBT cards and making dozens of cash withdrawals at ATMs near suspicious locations.
One EBT machine is stationed inside Club Eleven, which unlike 7-11, is an infamous Hunts Point jiggle joint known as much for its brawls as its girls in skimpy outfits. Cops have been cracking down on the Bronx club for years and shut it down temporarily in 2010. In July, several men were stabbed and shot after bouncers broke up a 4am brawl with pepper spray. The club appeared to be shuttered when reporters visited Thursday, says FOX News.
Club Heat, another Bronx strip club with EBT access, is also no stranger to violent crimes. A 33-year-old woman was shot in the head outside in December 2011.
Michael Tanner, from the Cato Institute stated:
“This is morally scandalous. I have nothing against strip clubs, but that’s not what benefits are for. I don’t blame [recipients]. If you are poor, it’s a crummy life and you want to have a drink or see a naked woman. I blame the people who are in charge of this.”
The food-stamp program prohibits the purchase of booze, tobacco and lottery tickets, but with the cash-assistance program, cash can be used on anything. Cash is a universal currency, so everybody accepts it.
According to the New York Post, State Senator Tom Libous (R-Binghamton) passed a law in June that would outlaw welfare withdrawals at gambling dens, strip clubs and other venues of vice. However, the bill isn’t going anywhere in the hands of the assembly.
“The people who are stealing from the program are the ones I want to go after, not someone who lost his job or a single mom who has to feed her kids. That’s what this program is supposed to be for.”
Seriously, if you’re blowing your welfare money on strippers, you obviously don’t need it that badly.