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Man Allegedly Uses Food Stamps To Buy Gourmet Food, Sells For A Profit

June 10, 2011 by  

Man Allegedly Uses Food Stamps To Buy Gourmet Food, Sells For A Profit

A man in Menominee, Mich. was charged with felony food stamp trafficking last week, after allegedly using food stamps to buy gourmet food, and then selling it to make a profit.

Louis Wayne Cuff, 33, allegedly bought $141.78 worth of lobster, steak and Mountain Dew with a Bridge card, a type of debit card issued by Michigan’s Department of Health Services (DHS) to needy individuals to help them pay for food, according to an article on the Lansing State Journal’s website. Cuff is alleged to have then sold the food for half of its cost, yielding a profit.

The investigation that uncovered Cuff’s alleged abuse of the system began with a receipt found in the Angeli’s County Market parking lot.

“It showed that somebody went into Angeli’s in February and bought six lobsters, two porterhouse steaks and five 24-packs of Mountain Dew using a Michigan Bridge Card,” the article read. “According to DHS spokeswoman Gisgie Gendreau, somebody brought the receipt to the attention of DHS on the department’s Facebook page.”

The store that sold the goods said it had no legal right to refuse the sale.

“While federal guidelines allow for food assistance to be used to buy (lobster, steak and Mountain Dew), these purchases go against the intent of the program, which is to provide help to those who are truly needy,” Gendreau told the paper.





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  • Dan az

    Why dose this not surprise me.They now carry a credit card to stop such things and who’s brilliant idea was that.I’m sure the socialist find this kind of thing irrelevant sense its not there money its other people money.

    • Alice

      I have seen people who own houses, rent them out, and being on welfare and food stamps system. It amazes me how these food stamp users ALWAYS seem to have money for beer, cigarettes, $80/mo cell phone plans, satellite TV, late model cars, expensive tattoos, etc. So those of us who work hard have to pay higher and higher taxes to provide for their necessities while they use the money to buy luxuries.

      • JUKEBOX

        I see them in stores with a buggy full of steaks, pay for them with a WIC card, food stamp card, etc., and then go sell the items to buy their beer, cigarettes and drugs. This goes on in every city in America every day. SURPRISE, SURPRISE!

      • ValDM

        You’re preaching to the choir here. I have a generational “business” of welfare living across the street from me. Dad died 2 yrs ago. Mom recently retired. But the 2 daughters have 3 illegitimate children between them & the oldest granchild is expecting this month. They ALL have cell phones, cars, cigs, etc. The house they live in is PURE-D filth, and we won’t even discuss the yard. But, by george, when you meet them at the mailbox, they’re so much better than you are, and don’t you forget it.

        • Patty

          Don’t you have city ordinances in your area? Call them and make the city enforce the look of their property. I live in the most anal community in MN. They have a person that drives around looking for lawns that are too long etc. They will tag the house, you have 48 hours to get it in shape or they will charge you 200.00 to have the city do it. His job title is the obnoxious weed dick (detective).

          • ValDM

            Yes, we have ordinances, however Orwell’s book Animal Farm is alive and well here. You know, some are more equal than others.

      • Patty

        They are laughing at us all of the way to their crack dealer.

      • Carol J

        All this while I was refused food stamps because I didn’t have a kitchen. I explained that I used a friends kitchen, but it didn’t matter. They didn’t care that my son had a heart problem and needed good food. What they did tell me was they would take him away from me and put him in a foster home, and then take $60 a week of my $69.80 paycheck to cover his costs.

        • http://naver samurai

          That is something that I couldn’t imagine going through. May God bless you and keep you, fellow patriot! FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

    • http://?? Joe H.

      Dan az
      If this suprises ANYONE, They are asleep at the wheel!!!

  • JoMama

    When this story first came to light earlier this week – there was a blog that day where a woman (who was guessing & VERY bitter) was sticking up for the person who did this & tried to justify it & said that for all we know this person(s) could have bought this expensive food because their son or daughter might be leaving for the army or that maybe there was a very good reason for this person to be buying all that stuff. She complained that she never had enough money for anything – never mind food. Meanwhile everyone that read the story (except her) KNEW very well that the state of Michigan was being ripped off!!
    Anyways – I’m here to say that all those people on that blog the other day are right in thinking that somebody would not have a good reason for this blatent stupidity & corruption.
    I hope that they throw the book at him. May this be a warning to all the theives who even THINK about stealing & abusing state & federal funds. This is ONLY one person, by the way. Think of ALL the other people that are probably getting away with this day in & day out. Week after week & month after month & year after year. Shameless!!!

  • JoMama

    By the way – I can’t afford lobster & I live in the state of Massachusetts!!

  • Mike Warren

    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. If the person is white then he’s a crimminal. If the person is black then he’s an Entrepreneur.

    The DHS wants to crack down on fraud? They should clean their own house first.


      DHS and the other welfare programs are self perpetuating bureaucracies.

    • Patty
    • http://naver samurai

      I know what you mean. We should abollish the self destructive welfare state, sanctifying everyone on it with a problem as a victim. We should remind them that this country was built and preserved by people who refused to be victims. Hand ups and not hand outs. FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

  • JimH

    Unfortunatly there are people who will take something, that was set up to help those that for some reason or another need some help, and scam it.
    I hope they throw the book at him and any others caught doing the same.

  • ph

    this has been going on for years..this is nothing’s just like the war on dope…the feds will make a bust every now & make a big news release that the mainstream jumps on & it makes it look like they are doing their job, but it is only a dog & pony show folks. Many,many lo-lifes’s are getting away with this kind of gaming of the system. It will only stop with agressive enforcement & I don’t see that happening any time soon, given the fact that I have known of these parasites doing this since way back in the 80′s.

  • falling

    Are they kidding? It would be more difficult to find someone who does NOT abuse their food stamps than someone who does! This is a common way of using FS. They then use the money to get their nails done or purchase a Gucci bag. I was trying to help my niece get back on her feet and gave up when I saw how badly she was abusing the system. And apparently she learned it all very quickly from others who were already in the system. Another common abuse is using HUD to rent a home and then “renting” out rooms to friends and family while shoving all the kids into one bedroom. HUD was paying $1295 a month for a four bedroom house in poor condition, worth about $850 on the private rental market. She “rented” out two of those bedroom, kept one for herself and put all five of her children, plus the children of her “renters” in one bedroom. Turned her in several times, but they must give 48 hours notice before they inspect a HUD property, so she just made sure things were put in order before they arrived. There should be random, unannounced audits/inspections of anyone who receives tax payer subsidies of any kind!

    • Patty

      My son works with section 8 people in MN. Before a new “renter” can move in, there has to be an inspection ($250.00). I live in a pretty decent house and my house would not pass thier inspection. The reason they have to charge more for those rental properties is because of the destruction to the property, the screens are usually the 1st to go, doors and locks are next, they don’t mow so the property owner has to hire it out so the city doesn’t fine them. They don’t clean so once they get evicted you have to practically gut the place to get it to pass another inspection. As the property manager he does check on the properties via checking the appliances, the electrical, whatever excuse the 1st couple of months they are there. If he sees one that has been rehab’ed and they are trashing it, he gives them 48 hours notice to clean it up or he will be back with an eviction notice. If you get evicted from a section 8 property in MN, you are black listed and are not suppose to get it again. It is a vicious cycle and the state workers help these people around every obsticle including filling out the paper work. Very sad.

      • JUKEBOX

        I know people who own Section 8 properties in my area, and the government pays for all destructive repairs to their property.

        • Patty

          Yes, they do pay for some or most, not all. Plus, you have to pay for each inspection. If they find ANYTHING, torn or missing screen, whatever, you have to fix that and have them come out again and another $250 charge. I think more the point is, that I don’t agree with slum lords, but to make the inspections so stringent as to make them in better shape than people who keep up their own homes is why it is so costly to house these people.

  • falling

    It is time to cut ALL federal subsidies to below poverty level aid. Give half the foodstamps we currently supply, pay half the amount we currently do for HUD, cut welfare payments in half…and then allow these recipients to work and make up the difference. If they do not work, they do not receive any payment at all. And every state needs to adopt the new Florida law calling for drug testing before anyone can receive aid.
    It is far past time to end generational welfare and the only way to do that is to make those on welfare a bit uncomfortable so they are encouraged to get off voluntarily!

    • Patty

      Oh, but that would hurt the kids! Sound familiar?
      In St. Paul, MN there is a woman who is living in a 5 bedroom, 1500./month house, receives WIC, food stamps, free healthcare, free to subsidized utilities, free cell phone, 450/ per month per child (4) of them on social security, free college. That is approx. 66,600 annually in TAX FREE benefits (not including college). Add taxes to that (we would have to pay taxes, that is equivalent to what her “net pay” is and she is getting $86,580. annually free, no charge. How many of us could live pretty well on that? Why work when you can work the system?

  • Milissa

    While I am repulsed at a person who abuses the system, I am amazed at the demands for even more government intrusion. I had to use foodstamps for about five months after I was hurt at work and unable to feed myself. I used all of my savings on my rent and other necessities, and foodstamps were my only option. While the fifty dollars a week was a God send, I PAID into the system for the entire 36 years I have been working, and feel no guilt at using the system. I bought soda on occasion. I also bought candy sometimes and junk food. While I never bought lobster, I did buy steak from time to time. More government has never fixed anything. If this is ok, why not have the government monitor the way you spend any of your money? It is a slippery slope, and intrusion must be limited or we are all screwed.

    • Patty

      Milissa-You used the system properly. As a safety net, not a way of life. Maybe these debt cards for food stamps is a good way to track what these people are buying. It is our money, not theirs and we have everyy right to know how they are spending our money. If you don’t want to be tracked, don’t get into the system. There is NO reason why they should be able to buy anything but necessities. If you want more, get a job and earn it.

  • David Warheit

    This story doesn’t make sense. The headline would have us believe that Mr. Cuff sold his lobsters “for a profit”, but the story tells us he sold everything for about half value. Why would anyone do that? Let’s see: Mr. Cuff is a human being. As such, he needs to eat on a regular basis or he will die. He has 3 choices: he can grow his food, buy it or steal it. There is no indication in the story that he is a farmer or a thief, so that only leaves buying. So he buys food that he doesn’t want to eat (lobsters, etc.), sells it for half of what he paid for it, and then goes and buys food he will eat, only he can buy only half as much as he could have if he used the food stamps directly, instead of the money he made by selling the lobsters. Sounds like he needs a little education, rather than a jail sentence.

    • Patty

      It is pure profit. He didn’t pay for the food stamps which is how he made his purchases. If someone gives you something of value and you turn around and sell it, wouldn’t that be 100% profit? He is not the one in need of an education. You are reading way more into the article than what is there and interjecting non facts of your own. He knows exactly what he was doing.

      • libertytrain

        Really, I can’t believe the logic of the post above you…. :)

    • del

      Really?? Are you Really that naive?? If the man had wanted to eat, he wouldn’t have sold the lobsters in the first place. More like he wanted drugs and alcohol. Wake up!!

    • Robin from Arcadia, IN

      David… I was trying to figure it out, too. If he used his own food stamps and sold the food he ‘bought’, why is there an issue? I am not sticking up for the guy, I am just confused. Did he find the ‘food card’, steal it, or what? I have found a gift card without the full name on it. I don’t think there is any way to track these cards and if there is, I have made an error in judgement. I used it to buy supplies that were needed for our missionary in Haiti after the earthquake. I added a little of my own money to it, but didn’t use one penny of it for anything for myself. I thought it was the best I could and if I am wrong I hope someone tells me!

      • Al

        Actually Robin, there is a rather easy way to track the “owner” if a name is on it. I’m not sure whether you mean it was issued to a person or was counter signed on the back. Either way they have a number on them for a reason and if they were purchased with anything other than cash a record exists of who paid for it.

      • Patty

        Robyn – Because if he is not using the food stamps for his own personal food needs, than why is he on them, why does he have them? Don’t be daft! It isn’t HIS money. It isn’t the gov’t. money. It is money confiscated from working people who don’t want their mandated charity abused.

    • Bob Livingston

      Dear David,

      I agree that it would seem that if the food stamps were his he should be able to do what he wants with what he buys. His problem is he may have violated the Food Stamp Act of 1977 which created the crime of food stamp trafficking: the buying and selling for food stamp benefits for cash or items not authorized under the act.

      Best wishes,

    • http://naver samurai

      Too much lib kool aid on a daily basis. Pull your head out from where you buried it and stop being an ostrich. FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

    • Patty

      Dave W – The more I read your post, the more pissed I became. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. You are trying to find excuses for this scumbags out right fraud of the system. You are either a piss poor wanna be criminal attorney or just foolish.

      • http://naver samurai

        Maybe he gets food stamps, does the same things with them, and is to unamerican to work? Keep up the good fight, fellow patriot! FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

  • Cawmun Cents

    IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO A LACK OF CHARACTER AND INTEGRITY.That is the demon we all must exercise as Americans.That is where all the actions of those intent on destroying our nation,have their foundation.In the ability to create a lack of moral content in the entirety of the nation.I do not advocate that a group of fanatics bring back order either,but it is clear that a return to better ethics is badly needed.If we cannot adjust we will be lost.-CC.

    • eddie47d

      I’ll agree with you on that one Cawmun Cents. There should be strict rules on what can be purchased and that certainly should leave out beer,lobster and even soda pop. Water is healthier and almost free so they can make sacrifices for what they get. Being unemployed or on welfare doesn’t give you a right to abuse these “gifts” that the taxpayers have given you.

      • http://naver samurai

        I also agree with CC and you also. See, we have some common ground after all, Ed. FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

      • Cawmun Cents

        Eddie47d,there has clearly been a lack of stewardship on the part of our nations politicians.I liken them to the moneychangers which Christ ran out of the temple.But even worse than that,is the example which politicians send to the public.If they are lacking in stewardship,them how can we expect the huddled masses to warm up to the idea of good ethics?The short answer is that we cannot.Therefore we must return to character and integrity in our elected officials.Not the kind that they have for long enough to be re-elected,but real ethical integrity and character.Until we substantiate the value of these virtues we are doomed to travel a destructive path.-CC.

        • http://naver samurai

          100% agree! FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

  • sandcasstle

    I have heard conversations between blacks that work where I work for 25+ years about “working the system”; one young woman had a party to celebrate when her husband finally got on disability. Anytime they have a government food handout in town, they all left work in droves and went to get their free cheese or whatever. Most make as much or more than I do. Another lady here said her niece was on her second illigitimate child, laid around all day doing nothing, stayed out all night, uses drugs. When she tried to get assistance from the city, they wanted her to do volunteer work as partial payment but she refused. All of this is a carefully laid plan (trap) by our government to enslave generations of people and it is working just fine.

  • http://none Henry Stumpf

    Is America GREAT or what??? obama buys votes while his LEMMINGS make a profit. Thats called spreading the wealth !!



    • Robin from Arcadia, IN

      Debra… I agree. They should only be used for specific food items. Michelle wants to control what we eat anyway, so it won’t be much of a stretch for her to get the ball rolling on legislation for this kind of control.

      • Patty

        True, true true!

      • http://?? Joe H.

        But the poor babies might notlike that kind of food!!! Surely you don’t expect them to eat what they don’t like, do you?? WHAT A CROCK!!!

    • http://naver samurai

      Good post! I agree whole heartedly! FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

  • Maureen Allen

    As a 60 yr old food stamp recepient, living on a pension of $690 a month, (in my generation, guys made all the money! hence poverty for us females!)plus $46 on my food stamp card. I find it ridiculous that there is no provision for personal care products and cleaning products. No toilet paper, no dishwashing liquid, no body soap, no laundry soap. But I can buy candy and pop! I paid into the system for 26 years, until I was stricken with multiple sclerosis and it grieves me when I see the abuse of all subsidies. I know homeless people who have nowhere to cook (this used to be a necessity to collect food stamps!) who receive $200 on their food stamp cards on the first of every month and find someone to take shopping for 50 cents on the dollar. The homeless food stamp recepient will trade $200 worth of food for $100 in cash, then use the cash to buy cigarettes and liquor. I live in public housing and a food bank from a major city brings us fresh produce for free biweekly. There is no supervision in the distribution and the younger people take two or more portions (like 6 watermelons instead of 1) while we older people wait our turn and then there are none left. Or the older people who have home health aides send their aides to collect their share and then give their aides or their families extras. We residents do without. But I’m sure the people who are providing these “extras” to us, have no idea that this happens. We have complained to the management (Housing and Urban Development) and are told that if we “can’t get along” they’ll just disallow any distribution. But I’m extremely grateful that I have what I have. Just know that these programs are very much needed and not abused by all recepients.

    • Patty

      I am so sorry about your affliction. Instances like this is exactly what the safety net was developed for and I have no problem contributing for people in your circumstances. Just think how much more could be provided to you if there was not so much fraud and abuse.

  • Louis Pappidas

    Most of the commentators seem to have missed something: The dumb shmuck is facing FELONY charges!

    • http://?? Joe H.

      Louis P.
      AS HE SHOULD!!!!!

  • Al

    Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    I suppose people here are not familiar with that quote.

    I don’t think that a free people who had a choice would choose to use food stamps, but our system is a joke. If you qualify some States do tell you what you can and can’t buy. I challenge anyone to tell me why lobster is unhealthy or not nutritious.

    Using “Food Stamps” is not as easy as government spending where farmers get paid to grow nothing, artists stick a crucifix in urine and get a government grant, road workers stand around all day with one man working and 6 men supervising. Need I go on? If you get “Food Stamps” you have to budget like anyone else or for part of the month you go hungry.

    A nation that treats it’s citizens as children should not expect allegiance and a citizenry that treat their neighbors as though they must conform to a standardized vision of the “American Dream” no longer has a dream.

    I don’t know what this person’s situation is. I certainly hope he is a needy person who just had to have the money and thought this was the way to do it, but we have only been spoon fed a little of this story. It’s what the modern “press” does to try to legitimize what the government is doing to people. If you personally don’t like the way that things are going I suggest you make your government change. Then, I suggest you organize food drives and give to charities for the needy. That’s how you can know your money is being used the way YOU want it to be used.

    Oh, and if you have a job for those who don’t want to be on “assistance” I suggest you advertise it. With unemployment at 9.1% or real unemployment at roughly 17% there are some people who have to use “Food Stamps” who definately aren’t needy. The truth is if anyone could do the work they wanted without government regulation and intrusion unemployment would be a lot lower or maybe nonexistent.

    So what is the real problem here?

  • Leo Douglas

    This is how illegal de facto citizens live in out country. You see
    many of them driving new pickups with food stamp money.

    • Patty

      And without insurance!

  • Arkady967

    The role of fraud, and the abuse of entitlement benefits should be part of any discussion about “helping the poor”. I’d really like to see how such money really gets spent, a detailed accounting.

    Helping people in need is responsible, perhaps a duty – part of being a good neighbor, but isn’t it the case that truly deseving people are often reluctant to seek help?

  • i41

    Bet the clown was a union democrat smuck. Any government program is aleways a f–k up at its worst light. We know the Catholic church help scam the program for illegal mexicans and hide them out and bring them in. This food is for needy people to tide them pver, if you want to see more was go to any indian reservation and look at all the food that is dumped or traded to anyone raising pigs, the rice, cornmeal,powdered milk, flour, and fruit juices are dumped in a tank and water is added to make feed for hogs. Yet the bs out of the beltway of obese lard azzes on reservations needing more food, trouble is these generation wards of the government will not prepare the food. Same goes for all the religios organizations that ship out big amounts of brand new clotheds and coats that are sent right to the dum with out being used and usually just get buried. What bs wastte from feel good PCed idiots.

  • JimH

    How do you starve a welfare recipiant to death?
    Hide their foodstamps in their workboots.

  • i41

    You got that right,work to welfare rats is another dirty 4 lettered word. They what top wages and no work. just like all dumborats and all feel good pukes all over.


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