President Trump’s proposed budget blueprint for 2018 was met with harsh criticism over funding cuts to programs like SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said one of the Trump administration’s objectives is to wean Americans off of welfare programs:
“We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the amount of money we spend, but by the number of people we help. If you’re in this country and you want to work … We’re going to get 3% growth and we’re going to give you the opportunity to work.”
Do the carping critics of Trump’s proposed cuts know about rampant welfare fraud, such as these latest, very egregious examples?
In a series of reports in June and July 2017 for Fox Business (here and here), Brittany De Lea tells of stings conducted by New Jersey law enforcement which resulted in the arrest of millionaires, including a rabbi, for defrauding millions of dollars from government welfare programs — Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), Social Security, and public housing.
The defendants have all been charged with theft by deception, misrepresenting their incomes to show levels low enough in order to qualify for public assistance programs. In New Jersey, the maximum allowable gross monthly income for a family of five to be eligible for SNAP assistance is $4,385—which amounts to about $52,600 per year.
For unstated reasons, De Lea did not give the names of the accused fraudsters. Those arrested include:
- Three married couples in Ocean County, New Jersey were charged with welfare fraud for under-reporting incomes in order to receive a collective $2 million in unmerited public welfare benefits.
- Four other couples in the area faced similar charges for cheating the government out of $1.3 million. In one case, a couple received Medicaid benefits for multiple years despite their annual income of more than $1 million. Another couple fraudulently received $178,000 in housing, food and health benefits by falsely listing their businesses — from which they netted $1.8 million — under relatives’ names.
- Seven couples in Lakewood, New Jersey, including a rabbi and his wife, were charged with gaming the system out of $2 million. Another 12 “wealthy individuals” were charged with defrauding Medicaid and other government assistance programs by misrepresenting their incomes. One couple alone collected nearly $75,000 in unentitled benefits from Medicaid between 2011 and 2013, despite their annual income of more than $1 million.
In fiscal year 2016, government spending on Medicaid totaled $14.5 billion for the state of New Jersey, and a whopping $553.4 billion for the U.S. as a whole.
It was only when I searched the Internet for more information on these arrests did I discover this — Lakewood, NJ, is a majority Orthodox Jewish municipality of 100,000, and the welfare fraudsters arrested are all Jews, including the rabbi and his wife.
As reported by Jen Krausz for NewsMax, July 4, 2017, the arrests sparked a “backlash — hateful social media comments, fliers, and slurs painted on a sheet covering a Holocaust memorial,” which prompted this statement from regional Anti-Defamation League Director Joshua Cohen:
“The allegations and the charges levied against (the defendants) have nothing to do with their religion. That’s why we’re deeply concerned when we see comments online, whether it’s on newspaper websites or social media, that are anti-Semitic.”
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