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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    NY food stamp recipients are shipping welfare-funded groceries to relatives in Jamaic


    EXCLUSIVE

    Food stamps are paying for trans-Atlantic takeout — with New Yorkers using taxpayer-funded benefits to ship food to relatives in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

    Welfare recipients are buying groceries with their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards and packing them in giant barrels for the trip overseas, The Post found.

    The practice is so common that hundreds of 45- to 55-gallon cardboard and plastic barrels line the walls of supermarkets in almost every Caribbean corner of the city.

    The feds say the moveable feasts go against the intent of the $86 billion welfare program for impoverished Americans.

    J.C. Rice
    BIN OVER THEIR HEADS: Pioneer Supermarket in Brooklyn sells plastic barrels that customers use to ship food to family members in the Caribbean.

    A spokeswoman for the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service said welfare benefits are reserved for households that buy and prepare food together. She said states should intervene if people are caught shipping nonperishables abroad.

    Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, called it just another example of welfare abuse.

    “I don’t want food-stamp police to see what people do with their rice and beans, but it’s wrong,” Tanner told The Post. “The purpose of this program is to help Americans who don’t have enough to eat. This is not intended as a form of foreign aid.”

    The United States spent $522.7 million on foreign aid to the Caribbean last fiscal year, government data show.

    Still, New Yorkers say they ship the food because staples available in the States are superior and less costly than what their families can get abroad.

    “Everybody does it,” said a worker at an Associated Supermarket in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. “They pay for it any way they can. A lot of people pay with EBT.”

    Customers pay cash for the barrels, usually about $40, and typically ship them filled with $500 to $2,000 worth of rice, beans, pasta, canned milk and sausages.

    Workers at the Pioneer Supermarket on Parkside Avenue and the Key Food on Flatbush Avenue confirmed the practice.

    They said food-stamp recipients typically take home their barrels and fill them gradually over time with food bought with EBT cards.

    When the tubs are full, the welfare users call a shipping company to pick them up and send them to the Caribbean for about $70. The shipments take about three weeks.

    Last week, a woman stuffed dozens of boxes of macaroni and evaporated milk into a barrel headed for her family in Kingston, Jamaica. She said she didn’t have welfare benefits and bought the food herself.

    “This is all worth more than $2,000,” she said. “I’ve been shopping since last December. You can help somebody else, someone who doesn’t live in this country.”

    A man helping her pack the barrel said: “We’re poor here, and they’re poor. But what we can get here is like luxury to them.”

    kbriquelet@nypost.com
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/nationa...sldSAjDVC9isjM


  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    • NYC welfare food is shipped in barrels to the Dominican Republic- then sold on the black market



    By ISABEL VINCENT and KATE BRIQUELET in NY and JOSE ERNESTO DEVAREZ in Santiago, Dominican Republic

    July 28, 2013
    EXCLUSIVE

    Food-stamp fraud in New York has turned into foreign aid — to black-market profiteers in the Dominican Republic.

    Last week, The Post revealed how New Yorkers on welfare are buying food with their benefit cards and shipping it in blue barrels to poor relatives in the Caribbean.

    But not everyone is giving the taxpayer-funded fare to starving children abroad.

    The Post last week found two people hawking barrels of American products for a profit on the streets of Santiago.

    “It’s a really easy way to make money, and it doesn’t cost me anything,” a seller named Maria-Teresa said Friday.

    J
    Jose Ernesto Devarez

    CARIB CONNECTION: A man named Jean in the Dominican city of Santiago last week sells a barrel shipped from NYC and stuffed with welfare food — part of a thriving black market.


    The 47-year-old Bronx native told The Post she scalps barrels of Frosted Flakes and baby formula bought with welfare money in the United States.
    Maria-Teresa said she gets new barrels every few weeks from her sister, who buys everything at a Western Beef on Prospect Avenue near East 165th Street in Foxhurst.

    The scamming sibling pays $75 per barrel to transport the items to the DR through Mott Haven’s Luciano Shipping. Sometimes the family fraudsters take advantage of a special: three barrels for the price of two.

    Maria-Teresa said she uses some of the products but vends the rest out of her Santiago home, providing markdowns of $1 to $2 compared to what her buyers would pay in local shops.

    “I don’t know how much of a business it is, but I know a lot of people are doing it,” she said.



    The black-market maven even takes her customers’ requests for hot-ticket items.

    Her best-sellers include a 19-ounce box of Frosted Flakes, which goes for $6.50 at Dominican supermarkets. She sells it for $2 less — after her sister buys it on sale for $2.99.

    But because the sister uses her Electronic Benefit Transfer card, she actually pays nothing — taxpayers foot the $2.99.

    Maria-Teresa also offers a 24-ounce Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box for $2, compared to the $4 Dominican counterpart. The Kellogg’s variety costs $2.99 on sale at Western Beef.

    A 23-ounce container of powdered Enfamil baby formula goes for $25 in the United States and $19 in Santiago but Maria-Teresa sells it for $15. “People want the best quality for the price, so they buy the formula made in the US,” she said.

    The average monthly wage in Dominican Republic is about 7,000 pesos, or just $167, and that’s why the black market has become so profitable, Maria-Teresa said.

    And the food-stamp fraud doesn’t stop there. She said her sister has Bronx grocers ring up bogus $250 transactions with her EBT card.

    In exchange, the stores hand her $200 cash and pocket the rest. No goods are exchanged. Instead, Maria-Teresa’s sister sends the money to Santiago — when she’s not spending it on liquor or other nonfood items.

    “We do it all the time, and a lot of people do this,” Maria-Teresa said. “It’s a way of laundering money, but it’s easier because it’s free.”

    Jean, another public-assistance cheat in Santiago, told The Post he has peddled welfare food in Santiago since getting deported from New York in 2010.

    A thirtysomething Haitian national, he said his sister in Queens uses her EBT card to purchase food before shipping it to him from Long Island City.

    “Every other month, I receive the barrels from my sister in New York City,” he told The Post. “Whatever I don’t need, I sell.

    “My sister uses food stamps to buy most of the things she sends me,” Jean added. He says the barrels are filled with cereal, baby formula, juices, olive oil and canned soup.

    He said his sister uses Long Island City’s Santiago Cargo Express, where barrels full of food cost $100 to ship to the DR.

    When The Post found Jean, he was lugging an empty barrel down the street and hoping to sell it to a friend for $35. Many Dominicans then use the containers to store water for their homes.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/i...ia2GA9o2oS505L


  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Pol: Mass EBT users may be shipping food

    Monday, July 22, 2013)
    By:

    Jack Encarnacao


    Massachusetts regulators should investigate whether EBT cardholders are using their benefits to buy food they then ship to relatives overseas, welfare reform advocate and state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell said in the wake of a New York Post report exposing the practice yesterday.

    “If it’s happening in one state, it’s happening in many other states,” O’Connell, a Taunton Republican, said. “It’s just one of countless scams happening through the food stamp program.”

    A Post story published yesterday said welfare recipients in New York City are buying groceries with EBT cards and packing them in giant barrels, which are sold in grocery stores, to ship to relatives overseas, mainly in the Caribbean. Similar barrels are for sale in some Boston supermarkets.

    The Post reported that hundreds of the 45- to 55-gallon cardboard and plastic barrels line supermarket walls in almost every Caribbean corner of the city.

    Customers pay cash for them, usually about $40, and typically ship them filled with $500 to $2,000 worth of rice, beans, pasta, canned milk and sausages — staples that are higher-quality and cheaper in the U.S., the Post reported.

    A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, which administers the $86 billion welfare program, told the Post that welfare benefits are reserved for households that buy and prepare food together, and that states should intervene if people are caught shipping nonperishables abroad.

    Workers told the Post food stamp recipients typically take home the barrels, fill them gradually and then call a shipping company that picks them up and sends them to the Caribbean.

    Similar services are available in Boston.

    O’Connell said the practice of using EBT benefits to pay for food shipped out of the country cried out for a crackdown.

    “This is a program that the taxpayers in the United States fund. It is to help people that are here in the United States, and that’s what it should be used for,” she said.
    http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion..._shipping_food





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