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Damm. We Were Late For The Party


GregS
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WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Michigan police department has been tapped by the federal government to crack down on Bridge Card abuse.

But now, the police department is under investigation, accused of misusing federal funds.

Newschannel 3 dug deeper in a Waste Watch report.

We're talking about close to $12,000.

Police purchased the items on bridge cards to make sure area businesses aren't taking advantage of the system.

But what investigators are accused of buying might surprise you, and it left the I-Team wondering if the police department wasn't the one taking advantage with the special assignment.

It was a casual dinner conversation at the home of two high-ranking Lansing police officers that prompted the investigation by the state, all revolving around federal funds.

"The Jack Daniel's, the t-bone steaks, it varied on what they wanted, they had a list of things, if they had a party that weekend that's where the food came from," said a witness, who asked to remain nameless.

The witness told Newschannel 3 the hosts bragged to their guests that the meal they were having--and the fully stocked bar--was courtesy of the government; a so-called 'perk of the job.'

"One of the officers was just getting in to the unit and they said 'oh, there's a benefit and that's food stamps,' if you want something from beer to steaks to anything," the witness said.

The report confirms Lansing P.D. was one of a few Michigan agencies given budget to investigate bridge card fraud, assigned four to six cards to target buyers misusing funds.

"I don't believe it was interpreted they should by alcohol, cigars, or whatever else they wanted to buy that day," the witness said.

The special operations division admitted swiping cards for snack foods and soft drinks, which they say were taken back to the department to share--all part of the investigation.

The USDA suggests these items should be "destroyed" or "taken to area food banks."

One search by Michigan State Police turned up a freezer of steaks, burritos, wine coolers, and beer, as  well as a canister of Jack Daniels.

"As a former sheriff, when you use tax payer money and do strings, the material should be used appropriate, if its going to be evidence it needs to be booked in, if its alcohol or cigarettes or whatever it is," said State Senator Rick Jones.

Paperwork shows more than $1,200 dollars was spent at two stores alone--the 1910 Meat Market, and also at Eric's--both stores with little or no surveillance system or itemized receipts.

The USDA says "there were no active investigations," here, and they could "see no reason why these purchases were made other than keeping the merchandise for themselves."

"This is taxpayer money, which is very precious," Sen. Jones said. "We want to feed hungry children and buy the necessities of life, but we don't want it abused."

Senator Jones has pushed through a package of bills aimed at eliminating bridge card abuse, to keep money from being spent at casinos or in strip clubs, telling us he's all for police investigating fraud.

"It's very easy to abuse the system," Sen. Jones said.
 
But the items bought should be clearly documented and saved--a requirement in the agreement between Lansing P.D. and the USDA--never eaten.

But that decision, he says, is up to the department.

"Absolutely they should not, it's evidence, they should put it into evidence and charge the store," Sen. Jones said.

An administrative assistant said during a police interview, that they "would bring me diet dew because it was my favorite."

The administrative assistant added that "there was no one that didn't have their hand in the chip bag," and that the 16 employees in the department taking the bridge cards hanging on a wall at any time would "come back with bags and bags […] essentially to stock our own kitchen and we would all kind of eat."

Newschannel 3 was also told that police would grill hamburgers in the afternoons.

"They picked and choose where they wanted to go, and then their CIS, they paid them out of that money too," the witness said.

A list of alcohol worth $2,000--used for investigating and stored in a back room--was found unaccounted for by state police.

A search turned up no reports the bottles had been used for police work.

One detective questioned expressed "disbelief," saying they "had no idea where the property should be and it was evidence."

A search at Lansing P.D. found that "no hard copies of reports could be located," leaving the MSP detective to contact the USDA directly.

His report stated no response, and a refusal to pass along itemized receipts.

The office of the inspector general told Newschannel 3 that "OIG promptly responded to the request and provided information to the MSP."

"I wanted to bring the attention to someone else, because they are supposed to be protecting and serving and they're doing something that is totally illegal and they had no accountability for," the witness said.

In the end, the Michigan Attorney General's office closed the case due to a lack of evidence and answers.

"They took advantage of me, of you, of the Lansing area, of people who need food stamps," the witness said. "I guess they have to live with that."

The case was closed by the Attorney General's office in February.

Newschannel 3 reached out to Bill Schuette's office on the issue, and were told, "we are not going to be prosecuting cops for eating Twinkies after work."

The Lansing Police Department is now conducting its own internal investigation in the wake of the claims.

The Lansing Chief of Police told Newschannel 3, "LPD takes all allegations and complaints very seriously. I hold our officers to the highest standards and police legitimacy is always at the top of my expectations pyramid."

The outcome of the investigation could take 90 days.

As soon as we have word of the outcome, we will pass it along.

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The case was closed by the Attorney General's office in February.

Newschannel 3 reached out to Bill Schuette's office on the issue, and were told, "we are not going to be prosecuting cops for eating Twinkies after work."

 

How do you spell corruption?

Edited by GregS
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Weird,... they don't need receipts. All ya have to do is punch up the number of the card used and it shows an itemized list of what was bought, where, at what time and how much.

 

Doesn't surprise me Schuette didn't do anything. Multiple offenses require jail time.

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Weird,... they don't need receipts. All ya have to do is punch up the number of the card used and it shows an itemized list of what was bought, where, at what time and how much.

 

Doesn't surprise me Schuette didn't do anything. Multiple offenses require jail time.

Goddamm police state anyway. Always barging in.

 

This opens new opportunities for our considered attitude toward the guy.

Edited by GregS
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why not bring attention to fed prosecutor? call them up? maybe they will help...

It's been said that all politics are local. Our time would be well spent here. DO NOT diminish schithead's role in his refusal to abide by any law. That would be the upshot of going after the feds. I prefer we pick this fight right here at home for the time being.

Edited by GregS
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The case was closed by the Attorney General's office in February.

 

Newschannel 3 reached out to Bill Schuette's office on the issue, and were told, "we are not going to be prosecuting cops for eating Twinkies after work."

 

How do you spell corruption?

But they will go after an American citizen for smoking a joint after work, which is probably less harmful than the twinkie.

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Also, I would like to know how they are buying alcohol with the card.  I guess the store owners are ringing it up on a different register and then just putting the total in for the card machine?  I mean, the SNAP program cards are programmed to identify SKU numbers and not pay for items not covered.  They are pretty specific. 

 

 So does that mean they were actually illegally buying the alcohol and then drinking the evidence?

 

*blink*

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There are so many stores that give people anything they want on the bridge card as long as they make a profit, they can make their registers say what ever the item is, if they give them booze they can say it was t-bones, or anything they want, they only have to make sure they pull their extra out before the end of the day, the debit machines know imediatly what was punched in for the sale, so they punch in something that cost more than the booze and it's that easy, I knew of a woman who spent her whole bridge cards worth on booze every month, she even got the store to give her .60 on the dollar and got cash from them!

 

I dont think you should be able to purchase coffee or soda on bridgecard either, they are not necisitys the are things you want not need, some stores even let them cold coffees go thru and red bull, you are not supposed to purchase either of them on the bridge card, but you can actualy buy them at wall marts, their cashiers need to know the rules!

 

dhs stopped mailing the funny money food stamp books because to many people were calling and saying they never got them, and they would get 2 months worth in one month!  they didnt let you do it to often, if you did they made you come get the stamps yourself, they didnt have the f.s in change, so you could take a 20 dollar one and hope they had no paper money either, buy a pack of gum and get the rest back in real money!  most dont remember them days im thinking, if there is a will there is a way!

 

the cops involved should recieve some kind of real punishment and not get paid while on leave, phaq desk jobs a thief is a thief is a thief!

 

Peace

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