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Food stamps have become a running joke

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Where is our tax money going?

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A $2.8 million fraud by Florida welfare recipients was busted in a two-year sting by authorities that is expected to bring more than 60 arrests, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said last Tuesday.

As Sheriff Ric Bradshaw told local television station WPTV, "We aren't going to bark a lot, but we are going to bite and bite hard, I'm going to bite them in the butt as far as I can and take everything that we got from them to teach them a lesson that this is not going to be tolerated."

So far sixty-one arrest warrants were issued as of Monday, with 21 people arrested so far and facing federal charges, Bradshaw said.

"Operation Money Tree" began after a grandmother called authorities when she learned that the father of her granddaughter traded his electronic food stamp card for money instead of buying groceries for her granddaughter. .

Last March, Florida welfare officials announced a crackdown on fraud in the state, which cost taxpayers $1.35 billion last year, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The agency processes most of the applications for those seeking food stamps, cash to needy families, and Medicaid benefits.

Changes in the law were expected to save $60 million a year, the report says. About 90 percent of the state's welfare recipients complete their benefit applications online.

As DCF Secretary David Wilkins told the Sentinel, "Florida ranks No. 1 in the nation for identity theft, and for far too long criminals have been gaming our systems and stealing from taxpayers and Floridians who are truly in need. "Implementing technology that has been successfully used in the private sector will allow us to catch more of these cheats on the front end."

This will be a huge issue in the 2014 midterm elections.

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