According to the New York Post, taxpayers have been paying for food stamps to feed those who are ineligible and live abroad.
New Yorkers have been using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) to purchase groceries, package them in barrels and ship them to places like Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The barrels can be purchased for $40 in cash and stuffed with $500 to $2,000 worth in food like rice, beans, pasta, canned milk and sausage. The goods are less expensive in the US and are made with higher quality than those in other, poorer countries.
A spokesperson for the Agricultural Department said the practice is unacceptable and inappropriate.
However, the practice is not limited just to food stamp recipients, according to the Post.
“Everybody does it,” a supermarket worker in Brooklyn said. “They pay for it any way they can.”
The Boston Herald reported on Monday that similar incidents were occurring in Boston, where barrels can be purchased for shipping abroad.
Massachusetts Republican state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell said the state should investigate into the barrel purchases, suspecting that it may be occurring in other states.
“It’s just one of countless scams happening through the food stamp program,” O’Connell said.