Raleigh tattoo parlor accepted food stamps as payment for tattoo work

Food stampsIn yet another example of a misuse of taxpayer dollars, Raleigh police report a tattoo parlor in the North Carolina city has been accepting food stamps as payments for ink.

According to Raleigh’s WNCN, Ink Addiction Tattooz accepted Electronic Benefit Transfer cards — part of the Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — as payment for tattoo work. The Raleigh Police Department said the tattoo parlor and its owner, Clifford Craig Tittle, accepted hundreds of dollars in welfare benefits.

As outlined in court documents, Tittle purchased two EBT cards in exchange for free ink from an informant who went on to trade more than four of the cards — which act as a vehicle for food stamps — from the tattoo parlor’s owner.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture went on to conduct an investigation and found tattoo work had been paid for using EBT cards in four instances.

As WNCN reported, two individuals used EBT cards and cash at Ink Addiction Tattooz in early September. They charged $421 and $417.61 to the cards, court documents show, on Sept. 4 in exchange for tattoo work.

Additionally, another person paid Tittle a total of $588 for ink — $413 on their EBT card and $175 in cash — on Sept. 6.  And in another instance — also on Sept. 6 — a fourth person sold Ink Addiction Tattooz’s owner an EBT card worth $570 for a mere $215.

Officials with the Raleigh Police Department received a search warrant for the shop and took evidence surrounding the fraud Thursday. The authorities seized earnings from the EBT-cards-for-tattoos transactions, computer terminals used in the trafficking and evidence of ownership of Ink Addiction Tattooz after receiving the warrant.

Tittle’s arrest was due in part to information provided by a confidential informant who met with the owner five different times between Sept. 4 and Sept. 11. The informant sold Tittle food stamps twice and received $600 worth of tattoo work during two other meetings, which were in exchange for the EBT cards.

The parlor owner faces charges of buying or selling/distribution of food stamps and conspiracy to obtain property under false pretense. He was arrested Sept. 12.

Officials with the Raleigh Police Department did not return Red Alert’s request for comment.

News of Tittle’s exchanging food stamps for tattoo work comes a month after the Department of Agriculture published a report examining integrity in SNAP and the trafficking, or the sale of SNAP benefits for cash or other ineligible items, of food stamps.

“USDA has a zero tolerance policy on fraud, and we continue to strengthen our anti-fraud tactics to identify and exclude bad actors. More than any other factor, we know that the change in the trafficking rate is being driven by the growth in the number of smaller retailers where trafficking occurs at ten times the rate of larger grocery stores and supermarkets,”  Agriculture Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon said in a news release last month. “And while the vast majority of retailers and participants are honest, exploring enhanced retailer requirements reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that everyone plays by the rules.”

Comments

Polititainment

Michael Bay might direct Benghazi movie

Bay, who has spent the last several years gaining popularity for his "Transformers" films, is reportedly in talks to direct the Benghazi film "13 Hours," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Holder wants Denzel to play him in movie

Holder spoke to The Hill about Hollywood and politics while at an event at the Washington Ideas Forum Wednesday that was hosted by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.

'Rival Survival' premiering Wednesday

Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) are getting ready to show America their bipartisan fire-starting skills on "Rival Survival," a reality show starring tho lawmakers that premiers Wednesday night on the Discovery Channel.

Lovitz has a field day with Hillary

Before Hillary Clinton's jobs comment is swept aside as a minor whoopsie, a few words from Jon Lovitz.

John Oliver has some ideas for the FDA

Some people want more nutrition information on food labels--but who really understands those labels anyway?

White House

Russian hackers broke into the White House network

Hackers with suspected ties to the Russian government recently broke into the White House’s unclassified computer network, the Washington Post reported Tuesday night.

Obama is withholding over 15,000 Fast and Furious documents

President Obama claimed executive privilege to withhold over 15,000 documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, including nearly 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife.

White House fence jumper charged with assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday. Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, is in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for previous outstanding warrants, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. […]
President Obama, unpaid bills and the curious editing of the White House transcript
President Obama, some unpaid bills and a curiously “inaudible” section of the White House recording of a speech — that’s how all good stories start, right? While at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago, Obama cracked a joke about the “unpaid bills” at his home. The joke was reported by the White House Press […]
Secrecy shrouds how the Obamas cook their chicken wings

Now it seems the Obamas are tight-lipped even about their eating habits.

Congress

Justin Amash envisions a libertarian Congress

Rep. Justin Amash, the libertarian congressman from Michigan, knows that Congress is far from libertarian. But someday, he thinks that might change.

Rand Paul: The GOP's image ‘sucks’

Rand Paul didn’t mince words about the GOP.

Small college's students thrown into 2014 election

Young people tend not to engage much in the humdrum local politics that go into midterm elections. But what if it’s happening literally in their own backyard?

GOP senator: 'Sorry the government's so f***ed'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made some self-deprecating jokes and colorful remarks about the state of the government during a recent private gathering, per a recording provided to CNN by South Carolina Democrats.

Top lawmaker's Ebola claim

A leading House Republican says he is aware of information that points to the United States eventually receiving non-U.S. Ebola patients for treatment.