When Pres. Obama promised to help the poor he obviously wasn't kidding, as the most recent food stamp glitch turned zero balance EBT cards into cards with unlimited buying power on Saturday. And government subsidized shoppers at Wal-Mart took full advantage of it, according to MSN Money on Oct. 14.
As Congress continued to bicker over how to resolve the partial government shutdown, welfare food recipients used their EBT cards to load up at a popular retail store, delighted that they had no maximum spending limit now.
A previous food stamp EBT card glitch had left needy in 17 states without the ability to buy the bare necessities with the funds they had available on their debit cards this weekend. And when the company who was responsible for the technological malfunction attempted to reverse the error, it inadvertently also gave some stamp recipients a new unlimited buying power as a result.
And that led to mass unauthorized spending and purchasing by a large number of those on America's welfare system until the proper authorities could be notified and take action to reverse the excessive purchasing power credit.
There were those who found themselves in the large national chain store as the EBT system corrected, left with the dilemma of attempting to take their overfull grocery buggies through the checkout line without a limitless card to use for payment, not realizing that the unusual circumstances had come to an end. And those people elected to abandon their buggies and the products they were buying rather than face police arrest for trying to wrongfully take items they knew they couldn't afford--and that the government had not sanctioned them to buy with the inflated spending limit.
One such person only had a legitimate .49 on their food stamp card that day, yet was trying to cart out a buggy full of items anyway. That person was faced with going away with the police or electing to leave their buggy and avoid arrest.
Wal-Mart in Springhill and Mansfield, LA suffered a complete clearing of their product shelves as a result of the major discrepancy on the part of the federal government and its technology system used. And Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd said the run on Wal-Mart due to the EBT error "was worse than any Black Friday" he has ever seen, with the store shelves devoid of items but crammed with people and chaos.
Walmart shoppers not on the EBT system themselves were appalled that those already receiving benefits at the expense of other taxpayers would stoop to taking advantage of the no limit status in order to steal excessive amounts of merchandise.
That's plain theft, that's stealing that's all I got to say about it," Stan and Judy Garcia told KSLA.
The Garcias will be happy to know that welfare fraud is still investigated vigorously, and the state of Louisiana is no exception, with the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services gathering information about the EBT transactions that occurred during the increased limit period on Saturday. And they have made it clear they plan to conduct a thorough fraud investigation into the activities, and to prosecute those who are guilty of it to the full extent of the law. However, no one was arrested on Saturday.
Those who knew they did not have the money on their EBT cards for the high-dollar purchases they made on Saturday are now looking at making restitution for those thefts when authorities filter through the list of people who abused the system. And violators are also looking at spending time in jail or prison for trying to defraud the government who was trying to help them.
And if they are ever in need again, they will not be eligible for food stamp assistance based upon federal law, since they will have been found guilty of fraud against the government system in the past.