Lottery Winners Continue to Scam EBT System

lottery(Photo by aepoc on Flickr.)

The Globe is reporting this morning about a couple of gentlemen who had the good luck to win a combined $1 million in the Massachusetts lottery, yet had the gambler’s greed to (allegedly) keep receiving Welfare payments despite the cash windfall.

Set aside the obvious comparison to Wall Street investment banks for a second; I think I can speak for everyone when I say this: Screw you guys.

The state’s EBT system is already in trouble, with multiple reports of people gaming the system by swapping their EBT debit cards for cash (or worse) — plus other more emotional less rational arguments against it. The two alleged scammers had received a combined $38,500 in state health benefits and food stamps. A statewide review of the card system, which provides state benefits to qualifying residents so they can purchase food, is pending but this will no doubt add fuel to the anti-EBT fire.

Of course the system is only half the story here. What really gets me is comments like this one from alleged perp Frank Basile, of Belmont (Belmont!), who reportedly said, “‘The charges are a mistake’ because his gambling losses are higher than his winnings.” So there’s that.

The lottery, as Douglas Adams famously said, is a self-imposed tax on people who are bad at math, but taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for people like Belmont Basile who essentially have the state underwriting their gambling addictions.

Then again, if Belmont Basile were a Wall Street investment bank, we the taxpayers would both back his bets and bail him out if, in fact, his losses were higher than his winnings. For whatever reason, it only seems wrong when the little guy does it.