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Pols demand overhaul after EBT bust
Boston Herald ^ | 12/14/11 | Dave Wedge and O'Ryan Johnson

Posted on 12/14/2011 12:45:28 PM PST by raccoonradio

Beacon Hill Republicans are calling for a massive overhaul of the state’s welfare system after a crew of alleged Lynn grifters was charged with scamming thousands from taxpayer-funded EBT cards — including some who allegedly took the public money as payment for crack.

“I want to see major reform here in Massachusetts,” fumed state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell, a Taunton Republican heading a legislative panel reviewing the EBT program. “You can spend that money on anything you want. There’s no oversight.”

The latest example of alleged rampant abuse occurred in Lynn, where authorities said four convenience stores let customers withdraw hundreds in cash while keeping half as a fee. Agents from the federal Department of Agriculture, along with state troopers from Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office and Lynn police, raided the stores yesterday, arrested eight people and seized a half-kilo of crack cocaine and 700 grams of heroin, officials said.

At Ace’s Wholesale Foods, a corner store in downtown Lynn, authorities said EBT sales topped $524,000 in the past year — far eclipsing sales at a nearby major supermarket.

Undercover cops allegedly used EBT cards at the market on several occasions to withdraw $80 in cash at a time, which was used to buy $40 worth of crack. The other $40 would be kept by the store as a fee, Essex First Assistant District Attorney Jack Dawley said in Lynn District Court yesterday. An undercover state trooper also witnessed many “blatant drug deals using EBT cards” at the store, Dawley said.

“This is an affront and an insult to all taxpayers,” Blodgett said.

“This money is supposed to be going to those who need it,” added Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger. “It’s outrageous.”

Charged with cocaine dealing and EBT fraud are store owners Midlher Cherubin, 41, and his son, Allan, 20; and Jean Saint Preux, 23, all of Lynn; and Jayson Powell, 26. All four pleaded not guilty and were ordered held on high bail. Lawyers for the Cherubins said the store owners had no knowledge of the alleged fraud or drug sales.

Charged with EBT fraud in the sweep were Amimada Jean Geffide, 33; Amanda Repp, 24; and Sheena White, 27, all of Lynn; and Pierre Saint Fort. All four were released on personal recognizance.

In the wake of Herald reports that found EBT cards were used to buy booze, lottery tickets, jewelry and other luxuries, the Legislature created a panel to review the program. O’Connell, who chairs it, wants restrictions on what can be bought. Current rules allow welfare recipients to withdraw up to $300 in state cash per month, in addition to federal food stipends.

“I want a complete overhaul of the system,” said Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth). “It’s a farce.”

Jennifer Kritz, state Department of Transitional Assistance spokeswoman, said the agency regularly probes fraud and recovered $4 million in 2010. “We take allegations of fraud very seriously,” she said.

TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: cocaine; ebtcard; fraud

1 posted on 12/14/2011 12:45:35 PM PST by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio; Andonius_99; Andy'smom; Antique Gal; Big Guy and Rusty 99; bitt; Barset; ...
(rap song) "My EBT My EBT, I just swipe my EBT"

SCAM: Amimada Jean Geffide, 33, top center, puts her chin on her hand as Allan Cherubin, 20, back left, and Pierre Saint Fort, 24, also are arraigned in Lynn District Court yesterday on charges of EBT fraud.

Now being talked about on Howie Carr show. HC list ping

2 posted on 12/14/2011 12:47:20 PM PST by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

It looks like Animada Jean did her hair up with extra care for her court appearance.

3 posted on 12/14/2011 12:55:35 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: raccoonradio

Most popular song in the ‘hood:




Chapter’s “Chapter - It’s Free Swipe Yo EBT!”

4 posted on 12/14/2011 12:59:00 PM PST by tcrlaf (Election 2012: THE RAPTURE OF THE DEMOCRATS)
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To: raccoonradio

Unintended consequences. Completely unpredictable. Let’s hope this stops and never happens again. Who could have forseen this coming? It’s an isolated incident. This almost never happens. Don’t blame liberals for this. It’s not governments fault. We need to do more to help the poor. Don’t you believe in a safety net?

5 posted on 12/14/2011 1:14:19 PM PST by Da Bilge Troll (Defeatism is not a winning strategy!)
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To: Pearls Before Swine
It looks like Animada Jean did her hair up with extra care for her court appearance.

How she's fallen from her Blackberry ad days.

6 posted on 12/14/2011 1:40:13 PM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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