ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- After a News 4 report highlighted Missouri welfare dollars being spent at strip clubs, casinos and bars, the state auditor is cracking down on the program’s oversight.
News 4 Investigative Reporter Chris Nagus has spent more than a year looking into the controversy and found some Missouri welfare cards were being used as far away as the Virgin Islands.
The auditor will be looking into Missouri welfare cards being accessed for cash at ATMs in some bizarre places.
The department of social services cannot tell how nearly $100 million in tax money is actually spent because what is purchased with that cash is not tracked.
But the ATM locations are recorded.
News 4 analyzed one year of Missouri TANF – temporary assistance to needy families – withdrawals and found more than 800,000 separate transactions all over the map.
News 4 found withdrawals at places like Las Vegas resorts, gentlemen’s clubs in Chicago and bars on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich said past audits conducted by his office have identified numerous problems with the welfare programs.
He also said the programs were created to help families and individuals struggling with economic difficulties, not to bolster a recipient’s nightlife or pay for expensive vacations.