EBT "glitch" frenzy to cost some Louisianans their cards for a while

Last month, a malfunction in the EBT system used by Louisiana and 16 other states led to a “no-limit” food run on several a whole lot of stores in Louisiana, with over 12,000 transactions made during the malfunction being declined for lack of funds . Those who abused the system in places like the Walmart in Many, Louisiana, which chose to not enforce the emergency $50 per account limit that was supposed to be enforced during the malfunction, thought they were in the clear after Walmart and local police decided not to pursue charges:


The Many Police Department posted this week on its Facebook page: “Apparently after reviewing surveillance tapes and interviewing witnesses, Wal-Mart has no evidence of any theft, nor any other criminal activity during the October 12th disturbance at the store. With this information, the Many Police Department has closed the investigation at this time.”

They were wrong:

The Louisiana governor’s office said Wednesday night that it would strip food stamp benefits from anyone who took advantage of an EBT card malfunction that in some cases caused an all-out shopping frenzy in some stores across the state, The Advocate reported.

It is unclear how many recipients stand in line to lose benefits for a year, but more than 12,000 received an insufficient funds notice when the EBT card system was corrected on Oct.12, the report said.

“We must protect the program for those who receive and use their benefits appropriately according to the law. We are looking at each case individually, addressing those recipients who are suspected of misrepresenting their eligibility for benefits or defrauding the system,” Suzy Sonnier, the secretary of state at the Department of Children and Family Services, said in a statement.

Not only were people who were eligible for the EBT programs taking more in food than they had in their accounts, but at least some people who weren’t even eligible for the programs were using expired EBT cards to get in on the frenzy.

I wish the DCFS luck in separating the innocent sheep from the wolves. I am sure there are some who weren’t quite sure just how much their EBT balances were and just barely exceeded the balances. However, this tidbit from one of the stories Ed excerpted last month strongly suggests otherwise:


(Springhill police chief Will) Lynd says at 9 p.m., when the cards came back online and it was announced over the loud speaker, people just left their carts full of food in the aisles and left.

“Just about everything is gone, I’ve never seen it in that condition,” said Mansfield Walmart customer Anthony Fuller.

Walmart employees could still be seen putting food from the carts away as late as Sunday afternoon. “I was just thinking, I’m so glad my mom doesn’t work here [Walmart] anymore, that’s the only thing I could think about, those employees working, that would have to restock all that stuff,” said O.J Evans who took cell phone video of the overflowing shopping carts at the Mansfield Walmart.

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