Missouri auditor to investigate how money is spent - KCTV5

Missouri auditor to investigate how money for needy families is being spent

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A KCTV5 News investigation that involves how your tax dollars, meant for needy families and being cashed in at such places as overseas and Vegas casinos, is getting results in Jefferson City.

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich announced late Friday afternoon he will look into how Missouri's Department of Social Services administers public assistance programs. Schweich said he's troubled seeing taxpayer assistance funds being used at questionable locations.

Back in July, a KCTV5 News investigation exposed public cash benefits put on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, and EBT cards being pulled out at high-dollar destinations from American Samoa all the way to the Caribbean Sea. KCTV5 dug through thousands of records and found some being used at casinos, bars and strip clubs a long way from the Show-Me State.

As of right now, there's no law against where those benefits can be accessed.

In the meantime, the auditor said he wants to make sure resources are being spent on their proper purpose - helping struggling families get back on their feet.

"There are others out there who want to abuse the program, who want to steal taxpayer money and deprive people who are rightfully entitled to the benefits of those benefits. It's a very common situation, unfortunately. You've done good work to expose some of that, we'll take a look into it further," Schweich said during a phone interview.

The auditor's staff plans to launch the investigation into how social services runs that program next year.

Click here to read the previous story.

The story came from KCTV5's investigative tip hotline. If you have a tip for KCTV5, call 576-7555 or email Investigate@KCTV5.com.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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