Food Stamp business easily abused
MILWAUKEE - There is no question the FoodShare program is needed, but what is also needed is additional enforcement. The I-Team uncovered beauty shops, record stores, even candy stores approved to cash in on your money.
Drive around and you are bound to find a Quest accepted sign on the door of a convenience store. Quest is the modern day version of food stamps. A booming business where the government dishes out one million dollars a day to stores in Milwaukee alone.
"Many of our residents don't have access to good food options," says common council president, Willie Hines.
But when the I-Team went undercover with our hidden camera we found stores approved to accept Quest. Like a tobacco store with empty shelves. The I-Team then took the hidden camera video to Hines to review.
"I appreciate it. It clearly indicates there is definitely some loopholes and it needs to be fine tuned and tightened," Hines says.
The USDA oversees the program. It only has 100 inspectors to monitor, not only Milwaukee or Wisconsin, but the entire country.
Wisconsin congresswoman, Gwen Moore admits more needs to be done.
"The real obvious answer is we need more inspectors. We need greater electronic capacity to survey what's going on and we need a lot more cooperation from the local officials," says Moore.
Back in 2011, the city denied a food license to the owner of Sticky Fingers House Of Candy. But the store remains on USDA's approved list of vendors, even though its doors are closed.
"The federal government needs to crackdown. Other governmental entities need to crack down. We've taken license. We've played our role. It's important for others to step up as well," says Hines.