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Katrina Money Cards Misuse

Katrina Debit cards Misuse

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#1 mjtian

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 05:04 PM

I just heard this and it makes me MAD!  Apparently these $2,000 redcross cards are being used by criminals!  It has been charged in Strip Clubs, Luis Vuitton Stores in Kentucky.  This is WRONG and these Thugs should get arrested and jailed!   I am glad the Feds are looking into this!!!    :angry:

Edited by mjtian, 16 September 2005 - 05:06 PM.

"I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot... and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why... I succeed" -Michael Jordan

#2 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 05:07 PM

Um... link? Source? Something?

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#3 mjtian

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 05:10 PM

On MSNBC Right NOW The Abram's Report.  I am looking for a link but haven't found it yet.
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#4 mjtian

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 05:14 PM

I will get the transcript to the show when it is available tomorrow.
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#5 Shalamar

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 06:15 PM

My apologies, I don't have news links,but what I am hearing on radio, with locals, some of them them the sales clerks making the sales...

Tattoos, jewelry, expensive designer hand bags, beauty make overs, and fur coats beihng purchased on the cards- and hauled around the Galleria ( Very high end retail ) in brand new luggage stuffed to overflowing.

On the cards...
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#6 offworlder

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 07:17 PM

I just heard this on Michael Medved's radio show on am talk radio, so no link source ;)
but he was saying this was the final straw on the camel's back with Brown .................... and he was going on and on about what a stupid idea to give people that card ............. of course the idea is that parents with children need food and clothes and rent for shelter, so here's some cash to get started: but what about that percentage minority of the group who'll selfishly spend it for luxury or less needed items and not on family or friends in need ~?
So they gave our their supply in Houston then stopped it, bout the same day Brown resigned.
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#7 mjtian

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 09:23 PM

This is the closest source that I can find thus far.  FRAUD.  In this incidence at least the person was a Katrina Survivor, but when I heard that other thugs pretending to be citizens of these devastated areas and abuses the system it just makes me steaming mad   :angry:
"I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot... and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why... I succeed" -Michael Jordan

#8 mjtian

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 02:41 PM

I got the Transcript as I promised:  MSNBC

Quote

'The Abrams Report' for September 16
Read the transcript to the Friday show
Updated: 11:57 a.m. ET Sept. 19, 2005
Guest: Robert Strang, Craig Williams, Scott Snyder, Nick Congemi, Daniel Becket Becnel, Ernie Allen, Betty Price, Michael Price, Bill Berger, Raoul Felder, Michael Lewittes

DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up, federal money and your donations to Hurricane Katrina victims being used in strip clubs?
ABRAMS (voice-over):  Those FEMA and Red Cross cash cards with up to $2,000 on them, turning up in topless clubs, Victoria‘s Secret shops, luxury and home electronic stores, and yet apparently there‘s nothing to prevent it from happening. 

And convicted Florida sex offenders who served their time fighting back against proposed laws that restrict their movements.  Now, they‘re saying enough is enough? 

And it seemed it was just another Hollywood marriage ending as quickly as it started.  But why is Renee Zellweger alleging that it was fraud?  What‘s fraud got to do with it? 

The program about justice starts now. 
ABRAMS:  Hi everyone.  First up on the docket tonight, with the government and individuals pouring money into the Gulf region, you would hope that it would go towards the dire needs of those displaced by Katrina.  But as in the aftermath of 9/11, some low life see disaster as an opportunity.  First there are allegations of just outright fraud.  Barretta Jo Hogg arrested in Georgia for allegedly posing as a hurricane evacuee and accepting about $1,000 in emergency funds from the Red Cross. 

Kent and Monica Gray arrested in Arkansas for allegedly claiming they were victims.  They could also receive thousands of dollars and benefits going to storm evacuees.  I‘m sure we‘re going to see more arrests like these.  But it seems a few of the actual hurricane victims are using some of the money for, let‘s just say less-than-urgent needs. 

The reports started trickling out last week in Atlanta, FEMA debit cards allegedly used to buy $800 Louis Vuitton handbags.  The storm confirmed to us that it happened.  Red Cross records show that this week over $1,000 from one Red Cross debit card meant to be used for basic necessities, the only restrictions, no alcohol, tobacco or firearms, spent at a Best Buy in Kentucky. 

And in Houston where police have set up a task force to catch people trying to scam the system.  Emergency funds have been apparently used at strip clubs.  Now, the term fraud is being thrown around when people talk about the misuse of these cards, but it‘s not really fraud.  There are few restrictions on the card, which begs the question, is there a better way to do this? 

“My Take”—there is no doubt that we have to get money down there to help the victims of this disaster.  And I watched the Red Cross doing incredible work down there.  But we cannot and should not be throwing around hard earned money indiscriminately.  In the end this is taxpayer dollars and as more of these stories of excess surface, I think the American public is going to quickly become furious.  I want to prevent that by trying to figure out how to better dole out the much-needed cash. 

Joining me now, a man who has extensive experience in detecting fraud, first as a federal agent, now as CEO of Investigative Management Group, Robert Strang, and Lieutenant Craig Williams who is heading up the Houston Police Department Fraud Task Force.  Gentlemen thanks very much for joining us.  We appreciate it. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey Dan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Mr. Strang let me start with you.  First of all, do you have any suggestions; I mean they‘re going to say, look, we need to get money down there fast.  We need to do it now.  We can‘t do too much to try to prevent people from spending it on this or that and yet, it seems, for example, with food stamps, there are other programs where people figure out a way to give money for a specific purpose. 

ROBERT STRANG, INVESTIGATIVE MANAGEMENT GROUP:  Well, Dan, keep in mind, so far, they‘ve actually distributed ABOUT 30,000 of these cards between FEMA and the Red Cross and they range in about—value of about 1,500 to 2,500 and the problem has been that for the most part, people have been using it for the needed food, needed shelter that‘s required.  But there‘s a few people that have actually gotten in line two or three times, there are small rings down there of people who have actually been you know taking the debit card, giving false Social Security numbers, showing false identification, false driver‘s license, and committing fraud. 

And keep in mind, you‘ve got—the Houston Police Department has put together a task force and I believe they‘ve already arrested 11 people.  The federal government has come in through the Department of Justice and set up the Hurricane Katrina task force to help on the bigger picture because there‘s also not the local fraud, but there‘s also fraud dealing with people who are donating large sums of money to charities.  They‘re setting up phony charities, so you‘ve got a big problem here on the local level and the national level. 

ABRAMS:  Well let me ask you, Lieutenant, do you think that it‘s a greater problem that there are people who are faking it, pretending to be victims or that people who actually were victims are using some of this money for items that I think the government and taxpayers would be ashamed of. 

LT. CRAIG WILLIAMS, HOUSTON P.D. FRAUD TASK FORCE:  I think the bigger problem is the people who are pretending to be victims or who are victims who are now going through the lines multiple times to receive benefits that they‘re not deserving of.  Now, the people who are misusing the benefits to purchase items that they probably should not be purchasing, those are the minority.  The majority of the people are using the benefits for...

ABRAMS:  No question.  And please, I hope my viewers don‘t think—I am in no way suggesting that this is some sort of rampant problem at this point.  But if there is a sense—if there becomes a sense out there that it‘s even happening in isolated cases, I think the people are going to get pretty furious about it.

Scott Snyder joins us now on the phone.  He‘s with the Red Cross down there.  Thanks for joining us.  Again, I‘ve said it before, I‘ll say it again, I‘ve watched the Red Cross doing some amazing work while I was down there.  What are you all doing to try to prevent people from misusing the money that you‘re giving them, from spending it at strip clubs or spending it at Louis Vuitton?

SCOTT SNYDER, RED CROSS SPOKESMAN (via phone):  Well as the American -

and thank you for having me on and thank you for the accolades.  We certainly appreciate it.  You know the Red Cross continues to respond to this unprecedented natural catastrophe.  You know our job is really to empower family to make choices.  Our job is to help support them.

Yes, we want people to use the resources for basic needs such as clothing, food, transportation.  You know but really our job is to empower folks, to help make them, make critical informed decisions about what they may need for their family.

ABRAMS:  But isn‘t there some obligation on the Red Cross?  I mean considering—I mean look, I know myself, I know other people are pouring out money to the Red Cross because of all the work you are doing down there.  Isn‘t—doesn‘t that then obligate you all to figure out something a little more than just empowerment, which puts some restrictions on how this money can be spent? 

SNYDER:  Well, you know the financial assistance that we‘re providing here is really not much different than financial assistance we provide every day to disasters all around the country.  You know we are—try to be as actively involved as possible and individuals affected to support their own recovery process.  But really, it all comes down to you know trying to empower people to make informed educated choices and we just are not in the business of dictating to people where they should shop, when they should shop.

ABRAMS:  Mr. Strang, do you think that they should be in the business of doing that?

STRANG:  Well from what I understand is they are actually doing some checks.  When you get and the debit card, you stand in line maybe for four hours, three hours.  Some lines have been longer than that, but when you actually get up and it‘s your turn, you fill out a form, you show an identification and they actually do a check.  They look at your license number.  They check your Social Security verification.  Although it‘s quick, Dan, at least it‘s something, so I think they‘re doing what they can.

ABRAMS:  And I should say that they are restricting—you‘re not allowed, for example, to buy—put up number two if we can...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Alcohol and guns.

ABRAMS:  Yes, the client assistance card is restricted from use with merchants that deal exclusively in prohibited merchandise such as package stores, liquor vendors and gun stores.  The American Red Cross takes its stewardship of the donated dollar very seriously.  Each client assistance card is marked in bold letters, no alcohol, tobacco or weapons.

So do you think, Lieutenant Williams, that if they can do that, that they should somehow take it a step further and say for example it‘s only to go for clothing, for housing, for food and I don‘t know maybe other—some other necessity. 

WILLIAMS:  Well it‘s not my job to dictate to the Red Cross how they should make people spend money.  Generally, when they respond to these disasters, they want people to use the money for what the money was really intended for and that‘s generally personal items, household items, things to get yourself back rolling again.  But you know some people, like I said earlier...

ABRAMS:  Yes.

WILLIAMS:  ... have taken advantage of this opportunity and they are using this—these funds, these cards, these checks to purchase items that they shouldn‘t be purchasing and that‘s what‘s happening down here.  But like I said, that‘s the minority of the people.  That‘s not the majority. 

STRANG:  Dan, if I could just follow up. 

ABRAMS:  Quickly, yes.

STRANG:  The thing is, they have street crime too that they‘re dealing with all through Houston, all through the area. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

STRANG:  So not only are the police doing a great job...

ABRAMS:  Yes, I‘m not...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Believe me, I‘m not suggesting that the police need to be you know doing more. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I‘m questioning whether there need to be specifically more restrictions on the use of these cards.

"I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot... and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why... I succeed" -Michael Jordan

#9 Zwolf

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 02:54 PM

If there's anything I hate, it's people who abuse advantage of kindnesses offered to them, and people who screw up things for others who really need it.  So anybody caught misusing those cards should be granted no mercy at all.

My mom's been volunteering at the local Red Cross, and she said they had a few people wander in pitching fits when they were denied cards... because they'd already gotten several cards in other places using false ID's!  So, there's more than one way to defraud people using those cards.  Scam artists have no souls and will take advantage of anything.

Cheers,

Zwolf
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#10 darthsikle

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 02:59 PM

you can buy them on e-bay for $1,600
Goodbye.

#11 Natolii

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 03:08 PM

darthsikle, on Sep 21 2005, 03:59 PM, said:

you can buy them on e-bay for $1,600

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Welp, if you see it on E-Bay, report it to their Fraud department. E-bay does not police sales until someone reports it...

Believe me, I know how lax they are.

And if you are kidding, you hit a on a subject that does happen. So don't mind the girl with the headache putting in her 2 cents.

:cool:
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#12 mjtian

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 03:17 PM

Quote

you can buy them on e-bay for $1,600

Do you proof for that?   I will goto Ebay and report it if you can show me the link.
"I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot... and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why... I succeed" -Michael Jordan

#13 Godeskian

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Posted 21 September 2005 - 03:22 PM

I did a search under 'Katrina' 'Katrina Cards' 'Red Cross Cards' and 'red cross cash cards' with no results that have anything to do with the money cards.

So i'm calling bull unless someone can provide a specific link.

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#14 Natolii

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 06:06 AM

Godeskian, on Sep 21 2005, 04:22 PM, said:

I did a search under 'Katrina' 'Katrina Cards' 'Red Cross Cards' and 'red cross cash cards' with no results that have anything to do with the money cards.

So i'm calling bull unless someone can provide a specific link.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Either bull, already reported, or it's a joke...

My vote is on joke.
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#15 Broph

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 06:19 AM

But what prevents a victim from just selling the card? Some of these people probably aren't used to debit cards and things like that. They'd rather rely on cash. They might think that the offer will be taken back and that if they try to use the card, it won't actually work. Money in their pockets is reliable; they know how that works. It's much easier to deal with other individuals using cash than a piece of plastic with a magnetic strip.

There are probably people offering these people $800-1,200 for their cards to turn them around for a profit. And there are probably people taking that money just for the security of cash.

#16 sierraleone

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 08:40 AM

^ and if the hurricane catches them in Texas, a whole bunch of good wet cash will. I'm not angry or anything, but I'm sure my family is around the poverty line and me and my mother always use debit cards if possible. My step dad prefers cash because he doesn't like to let us know how he spends his money, but he does use debits cards to, usually to take out cash, but he uses it to buy groceries when required as well.
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#17 Broph

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 01:37 PM

^And a lot of good those cards will be to them in places without electricity! And I don't think a guy on the street who has a loaf of bread to sell you is going to have a card reader to fulfill your transaction.

#18 sierraleone

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 02:02 PM

^ true enough, either way they're screwed...  Would someone who wants to sell a loaf of bread want to do it with looters around and scare police though?

A stack of emergency rations is probably the way to go for the first while, though some of these people don't have a way to buy much usually.
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#19 Nonprofit

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 09:22 PM

Now city workers are helping themselves to donations sent for hurricane victims such cases of food, clothing and tools.   :(

Storm donations found at official's home

Quote

Storm donations found at official's home

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Police found cases of food, clothing and tools intended for hurricane victims at the home of the chief administrative officer for a New Orleans suburb, authorities said Wednesday.

Officers searched Cedric Floyd's home because of complaints that city workers were helping themselves to donations for hurricane victims. Floyd, who runs the day-to-day operations in the suburb of Kenner, was in charge of distributing the goods.

Police plan to seek a charge of committing an illegal act as a public official against Floyd, and more charges against other city workers are possible, police Capt. Steve Caraway said.

The donations filled a large pickup truck four times. "It was an awful lot of stuff," Caraway said.

The donated materials must be processed as evidence but eventually will be distributed to victims. "We have lots of families that are begging for these supplies," said Attorney General Charles Foti, whose office assisted in the investigation.

Attempts to reach Floyd were unsuccessful at home numbers listed under his name in Kenner. His office number went unanswered after business hours.

Philip Ramon, chief of staff to Kenner Mayor Philip Capitano, has said city officials were investigating the alleged pilfering but added that many employees were themselves hurricane victims.

I understand if they were victims themselves but to hoard things that are donated is another thing.

RuReddy



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