Food Stamps Used to Buy Lobsters and Steaks

America is broke. 1 of every 4 homes are underwater. 1 of every 8 Americans are on food stamps.
But Americans are a generous people. We help fellow Americans who are in need. But we deeply resent those who take advantage of our generosity by abusing government welfare, such as the food stamp program.
Every year, taxpayers spent $40 billion on those food stamps that are intended for the poor. Every one of those food stamps are paid for by you and me and the 53% of Americans who still pay income taxes.
According to the U.S. Agriculture Department, food stamp fraud totaled nearly $100 million since 2007. Abuse of the food stamp program accelerated when debit-style cards replaced paper coupons in the 1990s.  Examples of fraud and abuse include:

  • People hungry for cash ask the store to ring up a small food sale or a phony one. An employee agrees to hand over money, maybe $50, but takes a larger amount off the card for a nice profit, sometimes as high as 100%.
  • A store west of downtown Detroit sold bags of the exotic chewy drug khat in exchange for food-stamp benefits. The cash was then wired to Somalia and other countries.
  • The owner of Ann’s Market in Detroit, Wasfi Shalhout of Dearborn, Michigan, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2010 for $1.2 million of food stamp fraud. Shalhout would write dollar amounts on old lottery tickets and tell customers to present them at the counter. Customers waited in line 10-deep to trade food-stamp benefits for cash. Shalhout used the funds to pay off his mortgage, purchase property in Israel, and leased three vehicles.
  • A recent example of food stamp abuse is Leroy Fick of Auburn, Michigan, who won $2 million in a state lottery game nearly a year ago but is still getting food stamps.

Below is evidence of someone abusing the food stamp program. The evidence is a grocery store receipt, dated February 8, 2011, from the Angeli’s County Market in Menominee, Michigan. My brother sent this to me in an E-mail. Please help this go viral!

I’m among the 53% of Americans who pay income taxes. I don’t buy cold water lobster or Porterhouse steak, but go to the discount Grocery Outlet.
But this individual in Michigan whose food stamp debit card account ends in 5865 bought cold water lobsters, Porterhouse steaks, and Diet Mountain Dew because someone else is paying the $141.78 bill. That someone else is you, me, and other taxpayers.
When do we say “ENOUGH! We’re sick of it and we won’t put up with it any longer”?
One good way to say “ENOUGH!” is to report fraud when you see it. Here’s how, from the U.S. Department of Human Services website:

If you know of, and wish to report fraud or abuse of the cash assistance, food stamp, Medicaid or any other benefit program provided by the Department of Human Services, call the 24-hour hotline for fraud at (202) 673-4464 in the Office of Program Review, Monitoring and Investigation (OPRMI). Anonymous calls are accepted. Callers who give their names can request confidentiality at (202) 671-4496.

UPDATE: A few hours after I published this post, Fellowship of the Minds received an e-mail from David DiCrescenzo of AmericanPatriotsPress.com, informing us that he wrote on exactly this same food stamp abuse about 10 days ago. Mr. DiCrescenzo called Angeli’s County Market and spoke tothe manager, Dan Bursik, who confirmed the purchase. Read DiCrescenzo’s blog here!
UPDATE (June 5, 2011): Sharp-eyed reader Patti found this news on Fox11 WLUK-TV, June 3, 2011:
Louis Cuff, 33, was arrested Wednesday and charged with welfare fraud for misusing hundreds of dollars of state-issued food stamps. Authorities say Cuff used a Michigan-issued food stamp card to buy and then sell food items for about 50 cents-on-the-dollar. One of the receipts from February includes six lobster tails, two porterhouse steaks and soda, totaling $141.78. The Menominee County Sheriff’s Department says anonymous tips led to a month-long joint investigation with the Michigan Department of Human Services. Lt. Greg Nast with the Menominee County Sheriff’s Department says he was told someone found the receipt near the grocery store. Authorities say Cuff admitted to selling items purchased with food stamps on three occasions. If convicted, Cuff faces up to a five year prison sentence.
~Eowyn

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lowtechgrannie lowtechgrannie
lowtechgrannie lowtechgrannie
9 years ago

I’ll bet it is Lottery winner Leroy Fick!

In Russet Shadows
9 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Eowyn

Interesting connection. I suppose when people have the attitude that they can get it all for free, this stems from a broken theology that thinks of God as a giant gumball machine in the sky — not someone who would ask them to give up their lives to follow Him.

day tripper
day tripper
9 years ago

Ah yes, the nefarious food stamp fraud. It is a shame that some abuse the system, but man does not live on hot dogs and Velveta either. Truly nourishing food, with the occasional treat (within reason) should be in line. Should foods like porterhouse steak, shrimp and lobster be baned for purchase with food stamps? People who get food stamps get a certain amount, so they should be allowed the freedom to purchase whatever food they want with them.( I’d rather see a cart full of good cuts of meat than pop tarts, processed junk, and soda pop) I don’t… Read more »

hrmfc
hrmfc
9 years ago

I would not object to one steak or one lobster but obviously they were using a week’s worth of food stamps to buy one extravagant dinner. Money would have been spent more frugally with peanut butter, fruits, vegetables and cheeses. If someone is buying a cake or a bottle of soda as a treat, I would not object but this receipt is definitely over the top. They are skimming the system if they aren’t buying esssentials.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  hrmfc

Heck, I actually bought food w/ my $150/month ROTC stipend as a grad student… it got a lot of tuna, peanut butter and ramen noodles, lemme tell you.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

P.S. Ramen is actually very bad for you cholesterol… I recently stopped eating it entirely and my cholesterol’s dropped 28 points since.

blogsensebybarb
9 years ago
Reply to  hrmfc

It burns me more when the cash benefits are used to buy beer and cigarettes! I see nothing wrong with a steak or whatever . Like someone has already said … they are given a fixed amount. If they use it to buy three exquisite meals, and live on bologna and velveeta the rest of the month … that is their choice and their responsibility. After all, the alternative is for the government to determine specific items. Is that what we want? MORE government involvement in entitlement issues? Shoot, I say give them a check and let them buy whatever… Read more »

day tripper
day tripper
9 years ago

https://www.dcf.state.fl.us/access/ReportFraud/MainForm.aspx
Here’s the form to fill out if fraud is suspected (FL), I’m sure all states have a similar program.

Doc's Wife
Doc's Wife
9 years ago

This is a big problem. I grew up in Mississippi where many, many are on Food Stamps. I have actually seen people drive Cadillacs to the store and use food stamps. They often carried designer purses. That said, our youngest just began a job with one of the largest insurance providers in the nation. She has been in shock over some of the things she has heard fellow co-workers discuss. It seems at the end of the month some just hand each other food stamps because they cannot use all the ones they receive. For two years she has called… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  Doc's Wife

The five-year lifetime limit on benefits was a damn good idea… back to multi-generational welfare families again now that it’s gone.

DCG
DCG
9 years ago

As someone that is part of this “hopeandchange” (laid off 3 months ago) I’m rather offended at this. I’m not on food stamps and buy frugally because UI only goes so far. Top Ramen is part of my weekly purchases, not lobster. Guess they can buy what they want yet would question their lack of common sense.

Doc's Wife
Doc's Wife
9 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Eowyn

Did not realize this about Ramen noodles. All four of my kids ate them in college when money from home ran out early.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  Doc's Wife

Even scarier… I’ve been eating a lot of Camembert lately (yummy soft French cheese, high in fat, etc. too) and my cholesterol still went down by 28 points despite the Camembert fat-fest. Ramen is THAT bad.

DCG
DCG
9 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Eowyn

Thanks for the h/t….it’s not like I eat it every day. And at my last doc appt my cholesterol was ok (as was everything else). Sometimes I go a couple weeks not eating it cuz I’m sick of the stuff lol…

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

Apparently, the Demo-rats and ACORN members are happy with how they voted… no one else is.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

True. They want to feel better by making everyone else feel worse. Sorry bunch.

C Hall
9 years ago

I have been a cashier in MANY major chain stores, both grocery AND stores like Target and Wal Mart. As a cashier in Wal Mart one day, as good and as seasoned I am, (and crazy – I LOVE Black Friday! LOL), I nearly walked off crying in frustration! There was a woman w/ 2 FULL carts of all kinds of expensive meat and BRAND NAME food (That’s the trick folks, a store brand is almost always as good as the name brand.) She didn’t have many veges and stuff, mostly meat and frozen stuff. Well, like folks said, a… Read more »

C Hall
9 years ago
Reply to  C Hall

PS: Sorry that was so long. When I get passionate on something, well…. My husband sure can tell you! 🙂

Dave
Dave
9 years ago
Reply to  C Hall

Drop your internet service… save some money.

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Eowyn

Race Card fraud for Fick, too, probably.

lowtechgrannie lowtechgrannie
lowtechgrannie lowtechgrannie
9 years ago
Reply to  C Hall

I’m in Washington State. I read recently the state is going to rework their Food Stamp system due to fraud. What’s been happening is the state provides an EBT card worth $300 (example) to the client. The client sells the card for cash to someone else for a lesser value, say $ 100 – $150. The client then goes back to the state and reports the EBT card is lost or stolen and the state issues them another card for full value. The article said the state was not keeping track of how many cards it was issuing. Upon investigation,… Read more »

hrmfc
hrmfc
9 years ago

The system must change. Our country can no longer afford the luxury of unchecked fraud. The ones who truly need it are denied help and others abuse and manipulate the system, receiving more than they need, trading for cash or drugs, costing billions. I think even more critically the abuse creates an environrment that is hostile. Hardworkers, the honest ones, the taxpayers resent the abuse. The abusers gloat in their dishonesty and become even more greedy and/or pull in others. The cycle is so detrimental to our country’s health and its future. God help us all.

Christine Hall
9 years ago
Reply to  hrmfc

One simple way to stop (control?) the fraud – randomly p***-test folks for drugs, and if they keep getting high readings of alcohol, test for that too. (A beer or two, no sweat, drunk as a loon every day, you obviously already have enough money for food!) If folks have to do it to keep a job, it’s only fair that they get tested too! 2 strikes and yer OUTTA here! (Forever.)

beth
beth
8 years ago
Reply to  Christine Hall

Actually….florida does do a urine test for all applying for state help….u must pay for the test…if it is clean…they pay u the cost of the test….if u test dirty…ur stuck with the cost…georgia is next…..i think it’s great! I had a former employee offer to sell me her card at a discounted rate….can’t tell u how upset i was….yes i sure could’ve used a $100. O groceries for $50…..i told her..”wow…u should take me to the grocery store….buy me any groceries i want…bring them to my house…un-pack them, put them away…and cook my dinner….and get no cash from me,… Read more »

In Russet Shadows
9 years ago

This doesn’t surprise me one bit. The very fact that you have multi-generational welfare/food stamp/etc families means that someone is gaming the system big time. Yet watch for the usual feral children to scream and complain if any attempt is made to stop fraud. Welfare, fraud, racial guilt — these are the tools used to bludgeon the middle class out of existence and restore the long-deposed royalty and their servants, the peasantry.

day tripper
day tripper
9 years ago

Actually, Christine
Pee testing is really NOT a good idea.
We are going through very difficult times as a nation, and lots of people are being pushed to the limits emotionally and mentaly.
I doubt Jesus would have pee tested the multitudes before workin divine magic with the loaves and fishes. People gotta eat, nourishment is the first step to recovery.

Christine Hall
9 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Eowyn

Thank you Eowyn and Sage for your support, esp. for this quick retort to Jesus hating me, (to paraphrase.) What you write just above, Eowyn, was the VERY first thing I thought when DayTripper called me to task. Really? Jesus would want the truly needy to suffer – those who just need a hand UP – and support those who have learned to “game the system” and demand to have eternal hand OUTs?? He’d have mercy on them too, but if they won’t change on their own, He isn’t going to force them. DT is right in a small, but… Read more »

Nick Reed
7 years ago
Reply to  day tripper

the bible says “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” the fraud is bearing false witness

Jasper
Jasper
9 years ago

I don’t think Jesus would have tolerated you Eowyn. You are an enemy of God.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
From Eowyn, Administrator:
I’m letting this one comment through, to show everyone how vile “Jasper” is.

Dave
Editor
Dave
9 years ago

Can we use food stamps to buy Obama a one-way ticket back to Kenya? 🙂
I’ll even help him pack his red thongs.
-Dave

Dave
Editor
Dave
9 years ago
Reply to  Dave

sage,
Right you are.
LOL – And I would trade Obama for Bibi in a heartbeat, as Obama isn’t fit to retrieve his newspaper.
-Dave

LJ Burton
LJ Burton
9 years ago

the fact that you have a copy of the receipt makes this whole post suspicious – this is a huge violation of someone’s privacy, or YOU did it and posted it just to make a point. Either way, don’t you have something better to do – like go after the folks selling their benefits for cash to buy crack??? Oh, except they are really hard to find because there just aren’t that many of them 100 million of fraud after 50 billion in benefits isn’t much.

Dave
Dave
9 years ago

Regardless of what the person bought with the EBT card (legal in Michigan and elsewhere apparently…), ramen noodles do NOT have cholesterol. Cholesterol comes from MEAT products. There is no meat in ramen noodles, only artificial “meat” flavoring. The noodles themselves are not derived from meat, so NO CHOLESTEROL. Dummies, most of you for believing a few morons.

tina
9 years ago

whoever purchased this,is very irresponsible,has no concience,deserves to starve til the end of the month. And someone should kick his/her mama in the butt.

Patti D'Amico
Patti D'Amico
8 years ago

Here is the follow up to that story Gene!
Michigan man charged for welfare fraud
Here is the follow up to that story
Food stamps to buy, then sell lobster and steak
Updated: Friday, 03 Jun 2011, 5:49 PM CDT
https://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/Menominee-man-arrested-for-welfare-fraud

DCG
DCG
8 years ago
Reply to  Patti D'Amico

Good!

jules
jules
8 years ago

I think as long as they are buying food, then that’s their deal. Just because some of us are struggling right now, doesn’t mean we should live on a diet of unhealthy cheap junk. My family has a bridge card right now and we buy a lot of fruits and veggies and meats, but no crazy expensive things. I’m not so offended at the receipt but more offended at people saying those less fortunate should eat hot dogs and ramen noodles and bologna. I would gladly trade places with someone who does not need assistance. You live on a diet… Read more »

christinec
christinec
8 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Eowyn

thank you! I live with my parents continually telling me that I am stealing from hard working people and that I should be buying all generic (which I don’t actually hate) and constantly harrasing me about every purchase I make even on sale or with coupons. I am on dissability and suffer from depression and the guilt trip is eating away at me. I try to buy fruits and veggies and other foods but I also pick up a treat once a month! I know you are hard working people and I agree that fraud is rampant but I am… Read more »

Chris
8 years ago

While I was employed, I had a budget of roughly $300/month for groceries (and included in that were cleaning supplies, diapers, soap,etc etc – not just consumables). I lost my job…and in the process of trying to work and find work, our family went on foodstamps. I was amazed first of all at the amount that was “given” to our account each month….it was over 4 times my regular budget. Granted, we have a family of 7, but still – we knew how to make our $300 work….but to be given nearly $1400/month on our FS account was simply amazing… Read more »

anonymous
anonymous
8 years ago

I use the bridge card and find myself eating MUCH healthier than before. Before I got my bridge card, I had to eat lots of ramen, hamburger helper, things that were cheap and easy. Because I get assistance, I am able to buy myself and family a great deal of fresh foods not the stuff loaded with preservatives, sodium and other things that are bad for your health.

hater of trashjerks
hater of trashjerks
8 years ago

You know you suk cok in your trailer home (oh wait…you’re middle-white-trash so you most likely RENT). So what you arse licking h0m0? There are a TON of upperclass trying to save their homes and feed their families without the need to jump off a bridge with Enron execs. So what’s your major malfunction? You’re pissed cause those of us who lost jobs due to the recession can get foodstamps and buy better food than you can afford??? Well wake up jackass, we (I) pay more tax on my house alone than you most likely make in a year! Before… Read more »

DCG
DCG
8 years ago

jerk, I own my own home as do many others here. So your presumption of renting is off base. I lost my job for 5 months and didn’t have the need to go on food stamps. I had money in savings, as most conservatives do, and was prepared to take care of myself, TYVM. Figure if you gotta brag about how much money you paid in taxes, you’re probably lying, as most liberals do. Why weren’t you paying more, giving more to the IRS? Fortunately I am now employed again, and yeah, I make more than the combined amount you… Read more »

middle upperclass guy
8 years ago

You know you suk cok in your trailer home (oh wait…you’re middle-white-trash so you most likely RENT). So what you arse licking h0m0? There are a TON of upperclass trying to save their homes and feed their families without the need to jump off a bridge with Enron execs. So what’s your major malfunction? You’re pissed cause those of us who lost jobs due to the recession can get foodstamps and buy better food than you can afford??? Well wake up jackass, we (I) pay more tax on my house alone than you most likely make in a year! Before… Read more »

DCG
DCG
8 years ago

Glad to know you agree with yourself, jerk. FYI – we can see your IP address. We aren’t as stoopid as you 🙂 IDIOT
Jerk and middleclass has the same IP: 107.33.164.174. Musta thought he was being clever though as it used two emails: jerk has an email name too vile to publish. middleclass’s email is ###@kickingwhitetrashass.gov. Surprise, surprise!

DCG
DCG
8 years ago

On my iPhone now and just realized this must be “jerk” again. Sigh, why do the trolls come out on late Saturday nites? Not buying your figures on foodstamps jerk. Not going 2 lie – I looked into the requirement while I was unemployed. First off, they ask 4 a list of all your savings & 401(k), stock holdings, etc. If you have monies any where else, you don’t qualify. If indeed U were making over $250k & didn’t have monies invested/saved elsewhere, then ur an idiot. Don’t give us this BS and don’t call anyone here a bitch. We… Read more »

Chris
8 years ago

Please remove me from the email list.

Steve in Iowa
Steve in Iowa
8 years ago

Couple years ago there was a story in the Des Moines Register about people on food stamps going to the store and purchasing water bottles, the ones for water coolers (4-5gal?), the deposit on those bottles is $10. With the food stamps they do not pay deposit. They’d take the bottled water outside, pour the water onto the ground then return the bottle for the $10. They had a photo and name of one person who did this and the state said there was nothing illegal about what was going on. All that water wasted, all those tax-payer dollars wasted.… Read more »

DISGUSTED BY HANDOUTS!
DISGUSTED BY HANDOUTS!
8 years ago

Disgusted by all the handouts and abuses. We should support people who CAN’T WORK, not those who WON’T WORK! Too many people who are collecting easy money in Michigan fall in the WON’T category! Get off your ass and GET A JOB! Every where you go is hiring! GET A JOB AND SUPPORT YOURSELF! Develop some PRIDE!

moxielouise
7 years ago

OK, so I’m about a day (or a year) late on this story but it’s still circulating…I got it in an email yesterday. For those who doubt the veracity of the receipt go to Snopes and type in food stamps; it’s the first story and it’s true. The guy was arrested for selling his purchases at half price in the parking lot. Whether or not you think he should have bought steak and lobster with food stamps, that’s FRAUD. And all taxpayers should be concerned about it.

DDDREW
DDDREW
7 years ago

the man stole the card and used it to buy items that were discounted, and then went to resell them at full price, he was arrested.https://urbanlegends.about.com/od/government/ss/Lobster-Steak-Food-Stamp-Receipt.htm

Jim
Jim
7 years ago

I live in a town in Michigan where everyone in both my family and my wife’s family are all on Government assistance. All of them are all capable of working but they are all too f***ing lazy to go do anything. My Wife’s mother has a Bachelor’s degree and lives off of her son’s SSI. The problem is that they are all very skilled at fooling Doctor’s into making it look like they are unable to work. My mother for instance was working at a hospital making 18 dollars an hour and quit when she found out she could apply… Read more »

betty
betty
5 years ago

It’s true that some people may abuse the system.But not everyone.those who don’t get food stamps always think they should be able to tell them how to spend them.If they were buying rice chicken and bag cereal and off brand products than what you critic’s Will be happy.I say so what there buying seafood.everyone deserves something nice now and then.you don’t know if that person has four children working at a minimum wage job.And the kids daddy not in the picture.I was on food stamps at one time and I ate good.when I was getting them I worked just as… Read more »

esme
esme
4 years ago

U need to look at all the Homes and churches like Victory Outreach..Prise Chapel all over LA and Other cities they take their EBT cards and their benefits too and they take them out to work and stand in front of Stores..Markets..Target..Wal-Marts for donations So why haven,t they put a stop to this They have no choice they want help to get better So please take this serious.i call it fraud big time from Ex Cons..Please…..