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Convicts Cash In on Government "Screw-up"

Posted Saturday, August 29, 2009, at 3:40 AM

The federal government sent about 3,900 economic stimulus payments of $250 each this spring to people in prisons or jails across the US. 1,700 of those checks have been determined to be a bureaucratic blunder. The other 2,200 inmates who received checks were verified to be eligible for the one-time stimulus payment.

The checks were part of the massive economic recovery package approved by Congress and President Barack Obama in February. The federal government processed $13 billion in stimulus payments, of which at least $425,000 has been determined to have been sent in error--to prison/jail inmates--individuals who were clearly not in a position to use the money to help stimulate the economy (which, as it was my understanding, was the whole point of the stimulus package?).

Now officials are asking for the money sent in error to be returned. Well I am certain they have nothing to worry about, after all, prison inmates are such model citizens they wouldn't dare keep the $250 that was erroneously sent to them in SPRING! (In case someone didn't catch on, I was being facetious).

Wes Davis, a regional spokesman for the Social Security Administration in Dallas, was quoted as saying "we're still talking about a relatively small [$425,000] number here."

Perhaps in the grand scheme of things $425,000 can be construed as a "relatively small number," and certainly it is a small percentage of the total $13 Billion that was paid out. But I would wager that virtually any school administrator would tell you that $425,000 can go a long way toward educating children. Even if it did nothing more than buy new text books for students in one or two low economic area schools.

Is this really our tax dollars hard at work?

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/re...


Comments
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[Show most recent comments first]

These are the same folks some want to run their health care?!?!?

-- Posted by quietmike on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 5:23 AM

How can these people still be receiving Social Security payments?

Quote from article:

"Our records were inaccurate. ... We didn't know they were incarcerated," Davis said, noting that federal officials rely on lists of inmates from correctional agencies

But didn't they send the checks to the prison? Wouldn't that have been a clue they were incarcerated?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 9:39 AM

Most people have their SSI, Social Security and Disablity checks direct deposited to a bank account. Every March I have to fill out a paper for SSI that explains how much of my daughters money gets spent on what and how much is saved. It has to add up to the amount she got the year before. One year I miss added and was 30.00 off and they sent the paper back and told me to figure out where that 30.00 was spent. They ask if she spends any time living out side of the home and if so how many days or months she was gone. So unless these people who went to prison contacted the SS office and told them they were in prison the SS office wouldn't know.

When we moved from Ohio to Tennessee, it took me 2 months of sending Ohio's SSI checks back and calling explaining we moved to another state and were recieving SSI from Tennessee. So even when you do contact them it takes several months to get thing corrected in their system.

-- Posted by bellbuckletn on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 10:05 AM

Most people have their SSI, Social Security and Disablity checks direct deposited to a bank account.

-- Posted by bellbuckletn on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 10:05 AM

[Taken from the article]

"Federal officials said that in addition to the checks issued to ineligible convicts, they are verifying direct deposits to bank accounts -- which could also have included convicts."

Unless I read incorrectly, they have not yet determined how many--if any--payments were mistakenly sent by direct deposit.

"Last Friday, authorities verified that 23 Massachusetts convicts received stimulus checks and cashed them, after Bay State prison officials tried unsuccessfully to get federal officials to validate them as appropriate."

It also appears that at least some prison officials attempted to verify the checks' validity prior to releasing them to the inmates, only to get no response from federal officials.

I believe I can state without a doubt that if I were to have commited such a "relatively small" mistake in my previous position as management for a local fortune 500 company, I would have been FIRED!

-- Posted by So_Sue_Me on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 10:58 AM

These are the same folks some want to run their health care?!?!?

-- Posted by quietmike on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 5:23 AM

.............. Hear, hear!!!

-- Posted by So_Sue_Me on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 11:04 AM

bellbuckletn

When the article stated that checks were cashed then I am to assume these were actual checks sent to the prisoners not direct deposits.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 11:24 AM

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 11:24 AM

.............I fully agree with you.

[Taken from the article]

"Federal officials said that in addition to the checks issued to ineligible convicts, they are verifying direct deposits to bank accounts -- which could also have included convicts."

I just wonder how "relatively small" the amount will be once an official audit has concluded?

-- Posted by So_Sue_Me on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 11:52 AM

Ditto,Quietmike!!!

-- Posted by frankimstein on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 7:53 PM

Quietmike hit the nail right on it's head! Trusting government with our health care would be absolutely insane!

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Sat, Aug 29, 2009, at 10:05 PM


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A once self-proclaimed entrepreneur with a strong background in photography, computer assembly, and digital arts/graphic design, Shawna is a dual-major graduate who was forced to leave a middle-management position after a serious accident and illness left her unable to work. As a mother of six and former teacher, she is now homeschooling her two youngest children and volunteers her time as an educator for the Bedford County Enrichment Homeschool Program.