$69 million in California welfare money drawn out of state. Las Vegas tops the list with $11.8 million spent at casinos or taken from ATMs, but transactions in Hawaii, Miami, Guam and elsewhere also raise questions. Officials say budget cuts hinder investigations.
Round-trip flights from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Orbitz.com Sunday started at $419 — more than 80% of the average monthly cash benefit for a single parent of two on CalWorks, the state’s main aid program.
“How they can go somewhere like Hawaii and be legit on aid … they can’t,” said Robert Hollenbeck, a fraud investigator for the Fresno County district attorney’s office. “This is money for basic subsistence needs.”
The $387,908 accessed in Hawaii includes transactions at more than a thousand big-box stores, grocery stores, convenience shops and ATMs on all the major islands. At least $234,000 was accessed on Oahu, $70,626 on Maui, $39,883 on Hawaii and $22,170 on Kauai.
The list includes $12,433 spent at the upscale Ala Moana shopping center, $3,030 spent at a group of gift shops next to Jimmy Buffett’s Beachcomber restaurant on Waikiki Beach and $2,146 withdrawn from ATMs on the island of Lanai, home to a pair of Four Seasons resorts and little else.
You can read more here at LA Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/04/local/la-me-welfare-20101004
Here is a video by a political organization that mocks the waste:
The bottom line is why would the California Government care about this? It is not their money it is yours. So there is no surprise that such things are happening.