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Updated: 07/20/2013 6:23 PM
Created: 11/09/2010 11:18 AM | Print |  Email
By: Mark Albert

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Investigation Prompts Changes to MN Welfare Laws

An on-going 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation into Welfare Waste, led by reporter Mark Albert, examines how taxpayer money is being spent on public assistance programs.

Beginning in November 2010, our stories found a benefits bonanza that might leave you shaking your head: cigarettes, alcohol, lottery tickets - even tattoos - can be bought with your money. We found welfare cash can be used for all sorts of things never intended, from the Twin Cities to the U-S Virgin Islands. And it's all legal. After our reports, lawmakers demanded action and the state began to reform the system.

In February 2011, we showed how welfare cash - taxpayer money - could be withdrawn at ATMs inside some casinos and bingo halls and then gambled away.

In May 2011, our investigation found millions of dollars are being spent on childcare that doesn't exist, and for families and providers that don't qualify. At the same time, thousands of families are placed on a waiting list for childcare, told there isn't enough money left to help them.

In July 2011, lawmakers passed and the governor signed broad changes to Minnesota's welfare laws as a result of our investigation.

Watch our investigations below and access our web exclusive content.

Watch Our Investigation:

THURSDAY, November 11, 2010
Want a tattoo? A pack of smokes? Use welfare cash. It's unrestricted and unregulated
FRIDAY, November 12, 2010
State lawmakers react to our investigation, calling for welfare reform.
SUNDAY, November 14, 2010
We go inside one Minnesota county's fight against multi-million dollar welfare waste
MONDAY, November 15, 2010
Federal agents raid a Twin Cities store being investigated as an alleged clearinghouse for welfare fraud.
TUESDAY, January 4, 2011
The state implements changes to the welfare system after our investigation
THURSDAY, January 20, 2011
Lawmakers introduce a bill to further reform Minnesota welfare after our investigation
THURSDAY, February 10, 2011
We uncover a failure in the system that lets welfare benefits be withdrawn at some casinos and bingo halls
TUESDAY, March 15, 2011
The welfare reform bill introduced at the Capitol after our investigation gets its first Legislative hearing - and tougher language.
TUESDAY, May 24, 2011
The state is overpaying millions of dollars in child care and some accuse D.H.S. of lacking the oversight to stop it.
WEDNESDAY, May 25, 2011
Thousands of families are forced to wait for help while the state overspends on unqualified child care.
TUESDAY, August 2, 2011
The Legislature passes and the governor signs broad reforms to welfare laws as a result of our investigation.
WEDNESDAY, November 16, 2011
Counties make changes to childcare assistance after we compiled welfare records the state never has.
THURSDAY, November 17, 2011
The new top cop at DHS, whose job is root out waste, fraud, and abuse, gives us his first television interview.
TUESDAY, April 3, 2012
The EBT Business Task Force issues its final report, with a potentially controversial idea.
TUESDAY, May 8, 2012, 10pm
A grocery store owner profiled in our investigation is sentenced to prison for welfare fraud.
THURSDAY, May 24, 2012
Minnesota one of top states for key measure of food stamp fraud; government to take new steps.
WEDNESDAY, July 4th, 2012
Law takes effect revoking welfare benefits if used to buy alcohol or tobacco products.
THURSDAY, September 6, 2012
More Minnesota welfare reform to take effect this month, including new EBT cards
FRIDAY, March 15, 2013
DHS asks lawmakers to create a Child Care Assistance Program fraud unit to crack down on welfare waste.
THURSDAY, July 11, 2013

Scathing audit finds DHS - for five years in a row now - admits it isn't doing enough to catch fraud or welfare waste and, once again, promises to fix it.

SATURDAY, July 20, 2013
MN GOP Lawmakers Push Governor to Fix Audit Issues.

Web Exclusive Content: 


Learn more about Minnesota's EBT program, including how many people are on the program, how much they receive in benefits on average, and how the program works:

Search welfare need by County

Need Help?  Hunger Solutions of Minnesota

Do you know of welfare fraud?  Let us know:

Or Call: (612) 5-TV-NEWS