Food stamp shopping spree: Who pays? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Food stamp shopping spree: Who pays?

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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

Walmart may be on the hook for the shopping spree spurred by temporarily unlimited balances on EBT cards Saturday in at least 2 stores in the ArkLaTex.

KSLA News 12 obtained video showed overflowing shopping carts, excited shoppers, and empty shelves throughout Walmarts in Springhill and Mansfield, LA. The frenzy was reportedly created by a glitch in the EBT system  that allowed card users to seemingly shop without a limit. In reality, there was a limit the whole time. 

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services oversees those benefits, called SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

A spokesperson for LA DCFS tells KSLA News 12 that no EBT card is ever limitless, and that when these outages happen, the retailer has a responsibility to implement emergency procedures. Those procedures include placing a phone call and verbally approving a spending limit for the customer. Trey Williams with DCFS says some retailers chose not to do that. 

"These businesses are only reimbursed for the benefits on the card, and they are completely responsible. So if someone had $50 dollars on their card, and they spent $100, the retailer, in this case Walmart, would be on the hook for the other $50.

So, isn't this fraud? The state has a way of tracking welfare fraud with GPS based software. DCFS knows who purchased what, and how much was spent. That information is available to be passed on to law enforcement, should it be requested. The information is there, the question now is what will they do with it.

Copyright 2013 KSLA. All rights reserved.

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