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Local Police Departments, State Cracking Down On Welfare Fraud

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV
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CHELSEA (CBS) – Police in Chelsea have a new tool to fight EBT abuse and crime.

Chief Brian Kyes and other chiefs across the state are joining state officials to fight the problem, which they say is prevalent across the state.

“It’s been a law that’s really been under the radar,” Kyes said. “As it is right now, it’s kind of a dice roll, we don’t know who is violating what.”

On Thursday, state officials announced they will be monitoring every EBT card transaction and sending any signs of fraud to local police to investigate.

Secretary of Massachusetts Health and Human Services John Polanowicz says it’s a step in the right direction.

“It’s critical that we restore the public’s confidence and trust in these programs,” Polanowicz said.

State Law bans items including alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets from being purchased with state cash assistance.

The I-Team caught Federal food stamp trafficking on camera where people were trading benefits for cash.

Susan Chung says people have tried this in her store, Bellingham Fruit and Produce, in Chelsea.

“It’s illegal, I don’t want to do that. I yell to them: ‘it’s illegal don’t even try on me,'” Chung said.

Kyes says in the end, taxpayers are the ones being hurt.

He says he will help train police across the state to start their compliance checks soon.

“Being an enforcement agent of the law, being a taxpayer and resident of the state, it’s something we don’t want to stand for,” he said .

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