Gov Cancels SNAP Cards: Louisiana EBT Free-for-all May Come at a High Price

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Remember last month when EBT cards in Louisiana showed no limits?  Remember how all of those EBT users had a chaos-fueled shopping spree and emptied store shelves within hours?  Remember how that one woman with only 49 cents left on her card tried to leave with $700 worth of food?

Well, the governor of Louisianna remembers too, and he has taken the unprecedented move of canceling the benefits cards for every person suspect of participating in the fraudulent free-for-all.

… Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal’s office will cancel food stamp benefits for anyone who participated in a fraud and shopping spree catalyzed by an EBT malfunction.

More than 12,000 people were sent an insufficient funds notice when the problem with the EBT cards was fixed on Oct. 12; those who transgressed may lose their EBT cards for a year.

Suzy Sonnier, the secretary of state at the Department of Children and Family Services, released a statement saying: “We must protect the program for those who receive and use their benefits appropriately according to the law. We are looking at each case individually, addressing those recipients who are suspected of misrepresenting their eligibility for benefits or defrauding the system.” (source)

It all started on October 12, when technical problems plagued the EBT system across the country.  17 states were affected.  Most of the benefits recipients couldn’t use their cards at all, causing mini-riots across the country when they were unable to buy food for their families. Within a few days, the USDA had sent notices to the states ordering them to freeze SNAP funds as a contingency plan because of the government shutdown.  Meanwhile, in a few places in Louisiana, the EBT malfunction caused the cards to show no limit, and many stores allowed users to shop anyway.

And shop they did.  Even though the accepted policy is to allow benefits recipients to purchase $50 worth of groceries in the event that cards malfunction, many stores did not limit purchases.  Grocery carts were filled with reckless abandon and users gleefully left the stores with hundreds of dollars worth of ill-gotten supplies.

It looks like dishonesty was not the best policy, however.

Governor Jindal’s move comes after public urging from the office of Senator David Vitter (R-LA).

Sen. David Vitter urged Louisiana officials Wednesday to pursue charges and strip food stamp benefits from Wal-Mart shoppers in north Louisiana who turned a technical glitch into a free shopping spree.

Vitter, R-La., called for state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the Jindal administration to take action against shoppers who generated national headlines, spawned YouTube videos, and created a Twitter frenzy after a failure in the electronic benefit transfer system — the process for using food stamps — allowed them to spend beyond their balances in mid-October.

Smartphones captured images of carts piled high with groceries that were abandoned once the system came back online.

Taxpayers did not lose money because of safety measures built into the food stamp system.

“It should be clear that someone who tried to buy massive amounts of groceries purposely attempted to exceed the program limits. That sort of fraud should be met with disqualification from the program at the very least,” Vitter wrote.     (source)

Those whose cards have been cancelled may appeal the decision in hopes of having their benefits restored, but if they lose the appeal, they could lose their benefits anywhere from one year all the way to…forever. Suzie Sonnier wrote,  “Louisiana’s current SNAP policy allows a one year sanction from the program for a first offense, a 24 month suspension for a second offense and a permanent disqualification for a third offense.”

Let’s hope, for their sakes and that of their innocent children, that the fraudulent shoppers purchased long term storage foods, because it looks like they are going to need it. As always, it’s the children who will really pay the price for the irresponsible actions of their parents. Through greed, dishonesty, and an entitlement mentality, these folks have just created their own SHTF event.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • Honestly, they will just move to another state and reapply, though I applaud Jindal on this move. It would be a good way to see who is actually abusing the system and weed em out. I wish more states had mysterious glitches, as those who need EBT know exactly how much is on those cards, and the abusers well they do what these idiots did.. Abuse it and lose it… is time people are held to account for their actions all the way to the district of criminals…

    • Tuffel you can’t be serious! These people can’t afford to buy food, they certainly can’t afford to move. I’m fine with them losing their SNAP benefits. I can’t stand a thief.

      • you can live off beans, potatoes, mac & cheese, ramen noodles and if you cant live off that maybe you need to get out there and get a job most people who get food stamps get way more then they need steaks and pork chops almost every night. NO THEY JUST NEED ENOUGH TO BUY BEANS AND POTATOES.

    • “they will just move to another state and reapply”. Unless some savy state HHS case worker checks the story out of the applicant. I know of one. A applicant showed up an applied for public assistance. In the course of his interview, he mentioned that he had just moved from new jersey. After the applicant left, the case worker called new jersey’s HHS office to check the story out. The guy had sucked down 4 years of public assistance in NJ. While they were on the phone, they casually asked if the applicant had come from another state. New jersey replied with “yes, he moved from Texas”. Another call went out to Texas’s HHS department and a conversation about this applicant. In Texas, he had sucked down 3 years and 6 months. After gathering all this information about their applicant, he was called back in for another meeting. At this time the case worker dropped the bomb that the applicant had 6 months left on his public assistance. How did he want to receive it? Six months straight, once every other month.. The applicant exploded and said he had 8 years! “No, you have 6 months, how do you want to receive it? I called your last two states and got the numbers from them. You have 6 months, figure it out.”.

  • Defrauding is making it not only legal to send jobs overseas but to also give these corporations a tax break.

    Defrauding is militarizing and brain washing the police force to consistently violate the US Constitution.

    Defrauding is a national bank bailout.

    Defrauding is pretending to cure cancer with deadly pharmaceuticals when there are limitless natural cures.

    Defrauding is running an agency like EBT, where people’s lives are on the line, in a grossly incompetent manner.

    Defrauding is basically what every elected official is doing today, and you just try to prove otherwise.

  • Good. It was kind of the stores to not impose limits even though the popular policy is to do so. Shame on those people who took advantage of it.

    • Wish someone starvation and pain? It isn’t funny, and it isn’t making a statement. These people made a big mistake and should make right a wrong, but do you have any insight as to what it means for someone to starve to death? It is very painful. And that is what we are doing to our seniors and very ill. With holding food and liquids. I would not wish that on even my worse enemy.

      While end of life “decisions” are not what this topic is about, it does relate to starvation and pain. If anyone reading this says that they really really want to lay in bed and be cared for 24/7 in your older years, I would say that they have some problems. To put that into a death wish, aka “living will” however, is exactly what people are doing.

      Life is like a fire in the house. For some reason people like to discuss what they will “save” such as Aunt Tillie’s knitting award as they quickly get out of the house. Well, we did have a fire in our house. It was 4:OO AM and 16F outside that night. We grabbed/organized the kids quickly (youngest 3yrs at the time), and walked out the door with just thin pajamas and no footwear. We did not worry about the coats or clothes. We did not worry about the dog who walked out the door with everyone else. I did not grab my glasses that were right on the night table. We just wanted to get out! We walked to the house next door (that happened to be relatives, but would have gone to any house) and called the fire department. The house made it with minimal damage, but if we waited just a tad longer, although we left the house as soon as we were aware, we would have all died from smoke inhalation. I Praise God for His Mercy.

      <> It is foolishness to think otherwise.

      When people sign these living wills, their end of life “choice” may not be a choice after all, and may not be what they had in mind.

      • They wont starve to death.. There are food banks, churches and other organizations that offer meals, and there is always the old fasioned go out and get a J-O-B. And it isn’t the seniors that are loosing the benefits, it is the thieves that went in to these stores and cleared off the selves, and tried checking out with 700$ of groceies and only have .49 on their card..

  • And what action did this governor do to stop the illegal foreclosures by the banks in his area? I bet nothing. But he is sure all over the poor people who do something wrong. I am not saying they should not be held accountable in some way, but it is getting out of hand how the rich are immune from the law and the average Joe goes to jail, gets anal searched and shot if the cops don’t like the way he looks.

    • Oh, brother. We live in a free country. Go make your way in the world. Don’t blame everyone and everything for your inability to do so. Complain, complain, complain. Stand up and take charge of your life and don’t get stuck on this crap rhetoric.
      Thank God for this country.

      • Great suggestion, but considering we sold out our jobs and send them overseas, were robbed by Wall Street which the we, the taxpayers, actually bailed out and you come out with this “pull yourself up by your bootstraps rhetoric”? When you though are in the same position of the poor, you will blame it on everyone but yourself, claiming you are a victim. Reading this clearly demonstrates that the American decline is well underway.

    • If you dont pay your mortgage you may get foreclosed on! DUH
      Whats that got to do with holding people who decided to have a free for all with their EBT cards,
      I would bet the percentage of card holders who did this was real small, if you get these benefits you know exactly how much you got,
      In what alternate universe would you all of a sudden be able to just go ape shit and charge 4 times your usual monthly benefit in one day and have no repercussion?

  • The slaves must be constantly made to know who their masters are. Packing a shopping cart in a Wal-Mart free-for-all is morally lacking, of course. But where was the outrage when banksters were given free reign to prey on tens of millions of consumers with predatory loans which they knew would fail? Where were the indictments when the banks knowingly, and fraudulently pledged sub-prime mortgages as AAA+ collateral for trillions in “exotic” derivatives, and then tossed families into the street when the highly speculative bets went sour, as they knew they would?

    In the larger perspective, these looters are like shooing flies off an elephant as it tramples the village. Get mad, but do so at the right people.

    • Your example only proves that people who knew that they had no means to re-pay those loans took advantage of a system that was forced by the government to make those questionalble loans in the first place.

      The exotic derivatives that you speak of were the markets reaction to a forced loan government policy that the lenders knew they would never be reapaid for.

    • This is so true! The looters suck, but you are right. Maybe it’s because the real issue is so BIG that it’s hard to begin to know what to do.

  • It’ll get over-ruled by SCOTUS, the entitlement crowd will get back-paid benifits with added buck$ for their pain & suffering while me & you bust our butts paying taxes to make sure their public trust fund is kept funded.

  • I applaud the move Gov Jindal made, but I think it’s going to make for an ugly situation in an already devastated state. I would hope that those punished are looked at closely. Some may have been in the system legitimately and I hope those have recourse to regain if so. But I hope they are able to clean their rolls of those who are just taking advantage of the system.

  • Here in Massachusetts, a few weeks before the election in 2012, the state gov’t actually sent out cards reminding those with EBT cards to vote. That’s bizarre enough. Why should the state take more interest in those people voting than other citizens? But fine. They did it. The interesting thing was that 47,000 (yes, forty seven thousand) of the cards came back indicating that there was no person with that name at that address. So the state of Massachusetts has been paying out money on EBT cards for 47,000 or more recipients of questionable merit.

    But, I wish that fraudulent corporate welfare was curtailed as well as welfare to the poor that turns out to be fraudulent.

    • Wow, I had never heard that. You know exactly who sent those notices out. They were “buying” votes then just like this snafu in Louisiana was buying support. The dangle a steak over there just to keep people from seeing what’s really going on over here. It fools so many people. Its sad.

  • wow. h5mind is the only decent person on here. well, this is the internet. i should have expected as much from the commentariat.

  • I think what has happened here is the right decision…but I also think Walmart should have their food stamp privileges taken from them for a while too. They didn’t follow the law with limiting the purchases to $50. Once they see how much the ebt system brings into their store, and how much they’re loosening,
    they won’t do it again.

    • They might be paying for the overage. But that’s no reason to give all these thief’s a pass. They knowingly made a run on the store. That woman who had 49cent left knew what she was doing. They should be held accountable for it. She could have used that 49cents and gotten herself 4 packs of ramen noodles.

  • I remember seeing more than one video clip showing an EBT user whose card did not work stating they would riot if this happens again. I expect it to happen with the ones that get cut-off, no matter how justly.

  • there would be no necessity for these cards if there was no corporate welfare, no corporate tax loopholes for large corporations, no more expansion of the American Empire through endless and expensive wars, no more jobs sent overseas, no more sending billions of dollars to countries that have no hope of paying it back (Egypt just got a billion $ recently…thought there was a $17 Trillion deficit…why are we loaning other countries money); and especially no more special interest groups..PACS…that can legally and also through dubious means contribute money to sway elections and elected officials.

  • Gov Jindal & Sen Vitter want to come down hard on the people who over spent on their SNAP cards (that went down during the Govnmt shut down.

    Sounds to me that retailers, who know about the 50$ limit when the system is down, ought to be charged with theft. They were complicit in these action and KNOWINGLY processed transactions over the limit, they damn well should repay the the $$ PLUS pay a huge fine !! For taking advantage of the system. Big Box stores like wallyworld ought to have the fine tripled.

    Individuals and retailers should both repay because yeah, fraud was committed. But lets face it, most card holders had kids (and could only but food). They had an understandable reason. SNAP card users never could have gotten away with it if retailers had followed the 50$ limit. Retailers damn well knew they were violating a written contract with the government for no reason other than greed, then had the audacity to complain about it. Retailers are the real criminals here. They conspired to steal our hard earned tax$$, and I for one am mighty, mighty sick of it. Make the retailers pay.

    -Aj Alicia Maria Ylizaliturri

  • BRAVO! I don’t live in Louisiana but if I did I would have voted for Jindal. When I first heard about these thief’s trying to use money they knew wasn’t theirs it made me so angry. Its a lesson in the type of people relying on the Government. So sick of it.

  • This is crazy!! I’m looking over the comments and people get so angry at those who have “milked” the system that they’re ready to sacrifice the children and those who are using the system appropriately. What would make you happy? I believe those who are guilty should be held accountable, yes. However, why not lower the food stamp benefits and make them pay back (cash) what they took? That way they still feel it, they pay the money back and the children aren’t going completely without. People get almost violent over those who are using public assistance and it makes me sick. Most people who belittle those on public assistance would justify themselves if they had to use it. Most of the people that I have heard put down those on public assistance, have been on it or their parents where on it. Here we are picking each other apart over race or financial class, just what the government wants so that we don’t point the finger at them . . . The Real Problem, the Real Criminals. They are the ones that MILK the system and if one of them came driving down the road in a vehicle the tax payers paid for, we would shake their hands and think it was cool that we met them. Unemployment is so high now and we expect people to get jobs that aren’t making ends meet and we end up on public assistance anyway. The cost of living is so high that a person could never make it on a full-time minimum wage job. Some of us have been blessed and then we look down our self-righteous noses at those who have not been as blessed. No one can guarantee their future. You just may have to be on public assistance one day yourself. ***Sorry, for the rant. I’m just tired of people being so cold.

  • This would not have happened if the Government Fools hadn’t decided it was to embarrassing for these poor pitiful thieves to have to pay for food with FOOD STAMPS!

  • Well let’s see, was Walmart not to blame ultimately. They know the limit is 50$ why did they allow the people on benefits to proceed with the purchases. Not shifting blame from those abusers, but Walmart has got to speak up about this.

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