Special Report: Food Stamps, where is your money really going? - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Special Report: Food Stamps, where is your money really going?

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ALBANY, N.Y. -- According to a report by the NY Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance the state spent more than $460 million on the SNAP program, also known as food stamps, during the month of January alone.

Another $190 million was spent on temporary assistance, but those in need aren't the only ones getting that money.

There have been almost 200 arrests in Warren County over the past few years, and according to the Warren County Sheriff's Office, each one has a different story on how they cheated the state.

One man, whose identity we cannot reveal, is a former drug user and dealer and spoke with NEWS CENTER about how easy it is to do.

"It's like regular dealers, you call them up and say 'hey I just got my food stamps want to go shopping?" said the man.

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan says investigators were able to pinpoint he was using a motel as a hub to sell drugs.

According to Hogan, she was told by a Sgt. from the Glens Falls Police Dept. that EBT benefit cards were being used for the purchases.

Warren County Sheriff Bud York realized something needed to be done in his county, so he hired a part time investigator to work with social services

According to him, in four years the county saved almost a million dollars.

The NEWS CENTER did try contacting the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance for an entire month, calling on a daily basis with none of our calls returned. 

Last week they did release a statement saying "New York State has a zero tolerance approach to fraud and works closely with our partners on the local and federal level to help detect and prevent fraud, and is open to developing new approaches in cooperation with those partners. Additionally, through the state law enforcement bureau program, OTDA coordinates SNAP trafficking investigations of retailers in conjunction with local or state law enforcement agencies. These combined efforts save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year."

Senator Tom Libous is drafting legislation to tightly restrict the cash benefits allowed on EBT cards.

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