“Should there be a limit on how much tax payers dollars can be given to someone on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?" Texas' KGBT 4TV asks in an investigative report on possible food stamp abuse in the Rio Grande Valley.
“One valley man was outraged after finding out how much money some people on government assistance are getting,” reads the report. “Action 4 News uncovers just how many people are on SNAP in the Valley and how much money they are getting.”
The report was helped along by a gas station clerk who had grown tired of seeing customers make enormous purchases with their Lone Star cards. In some cases, he says, people would show up and have a balance of at least $7,000 on their cards.
"There are times I see customers come in and they've got thousands," “Bob,” who spoke on condition of anonymity, told KGBT 4TV.
"[O]n an average day he sees about 10 different people all with over $2,000 in food stamps, who report to the government they cannot make ends meet," the report notes.
"But they're driving Mercedes," he adds.
“Bob” says he tried calling a few government offices to notify them of the amount of money being distributed to food stamp recipients but was told nothing could be done about it.
So the local news team looked into it.
"I had never heard of this issue until you brought it to light," State Representative Terry Canales told KGBT 4TV.
He added that a $7,000 surplus is "extremely concerning. Reaching these balances is obviously not in the best interest of the state and the people that have these balances its questionable as to whether they need the assistance.”
"According to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, there are more than 238,000 people on SNAP in Hidalgo County, costing tax payers more than $28,000,000 dollars this month alone," the report notes.
"For Cameron County, 119,000 people are receiving assistance, at a $13,000,000 cost for February," it adds.
"Where's this going? What's wrong with this picture?" Canales asked.
After the above investigation aired, Canales said he is “considering an audit on those accounts.”
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