More Welfare Abuse: EBT Cards Still Being Used In Bars, For Lap Dances
February 5, 2013  //  By:   //  New York  //  6 Comments


WNYT in Albany, New York has profiled Sarah Fish, a local business owner who managed to use food stamps to get her life back on track, and start a restaurant called The Hungry Fish.

What makes Fish rare is not that she used government benefits to get to a better place financially, it’s that she has the honesty and integrity to admit the system is flawed.  Fish also admits to being able to use her benefits to “spend a lot of money on drugs and alcohol”.

She adds, “it isn’t hard to scam the state system”.

An excerpt from the WNYT report reveals that there are definitely some people scamming the system, using their EBT card for cash withdrawals at bars and strip clubs.

“If people were actually held accountable for for how they spent the money, had limits for where it could be spent and what it could be spent on, it would limit the abuse,” Fish said.

We investigated the issue in November 2011 and discovered tens of thousands of state benefit dollars were withdrawn from ATMs in bars, at the OTB and in liquor stores by people using their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards. The cards are issued by the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance – but the agency was doing nothing to oversee or restrict where the cash is taken out or spent.

We recently went back and obtained more EBT Cash withdrawl records: From June 2011 to August 2012:

More than six thousand dollars were withdrawn from Troy Discount Beverage.

Nearly 700 dollars from Iffy’s Place – a bar in Albany.

And enough for a lap-dance or two taken out from an ATM at DiCarlo’s in Albany courtesy of the taxpayer.

New York State Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R) is fighting this abuse, co-sponsoring the Public Assistance Integrity Act.  The Act, which was blocked from being introduced on the floor abyear ago, would “would make it impossible for folks to use their EBT cards at ATMs inside liquor stores, casinos and adult entertainment spots.”

Does New York have the politcial courage to tell people that taxpayer money is to be used for bettering one’s life, not for liquor and strip clubs?

About the Author :

Rusty Weiss is a freelance journalist focusing on the conservative movement and its political agenda. He has been writing conservatively charged articles for several years in the upstate New York area, and his writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, American Thinker,, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record. He is also Editor of one of the top conservative blogs of 2012, the Mental Recession.

6 Comments to “More Welfare Abuse: EBT Cards Still Being Used In Bars, For Lap Dances”
  • Dapandico
    February 6, 2013 - Reply

    Low capacity EBT Cards?

  • Jack Frazier Maryland
    February 7, 2013 - Reply

    the whole system is a scam. Border jumpers come to the land of the free, have babies for welfare and locks them into the sytem forever. They come with no id and use and abuse the systems by using many different names and matricula cards. They work while they on the systems and are opening business’s in our country in record numbers while taxpaying citizens pay for all of it. All of it is ignored by most of our politicians. They think they’ll be classified as a racist which is total bs and tactics used by minorities. Just call them a racist and they’ll back off.

  • Lynda Felts
    February 7, 2013 - Reply

    I always told my boys “Life is not fair, not every one is going to like you and there is NO free lunch”. They (5 boys) all turned out just fine with degrees and 2 graduate degrees and all work in the line thy chose to study. Not easy, but doable.

  • Anthony Mendolia
    April 3, 2013 - Reply

    Our whole monetary system from the gov’t handouts to the gov’t spending on useless stuff is flawed. I loathe him.

  • gemma
    June 13, 2014 - Reply

    The misuse of the ebt cards issued to assist people is appalling. I work two jobs, one of which is in an establishment that sells food items and alcohol and tobacco products, and I can’t afford half of what these “welfare recipients” purchase. They buy what I consider to be luxury items from expensive seafood to filet mignon. I thought the premise of “assistance” was for people who couldn’t afford to feed themselves. Not only do they buy these items with their EBT cards but then whip out cash and/or credit cards to pay for alcohol and tobacco product. I find this infuriating! There should be some sort of monitoring system for how this money is spent. Too many people are receiving this “assistance” who certainly appear not to need it. Why is there not more programs in place to get these people off the dole? Why should I pay taxes and support their households as well? It’s disgusting!!!

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