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FEMA / Red Cross Debit Cards Used To Buy $800 handbags

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posted on Oct, 20 2005 @ 06:12 AM
While it seemed like a good plan at the time, the temptation to use the FEMA debit cards for such essential disaster recovery supplies such as an $800 Louis Vuitton handbag.

I guess it is better to look good than to feel good :shk: I wonder how much of that money will be used for what it was truly attended for.

One of the first news outlets to report on abuse of these financial instruments was the New York Daily News, who broke the story that two of the cards had been used in Atlanta to buy $800 Louis Vuitton handbags. (That claim has been substantiated by MSNBC's Abrams Report; the store confirmed to them that it happened.) Others have been spotted in adult entertainment venues — according to a report by KPRC Channel 2 in Houston, the wife of a strip club manager in that city said her husband has seen patrons from Louisiana offering FEMA and Red Cross debit cards. A manager at Caligula XXI Gentlemen's Club told KPRC that he has seen at least one card used at his club. "Abby," a bartender at Baby Dolls, another strip club in Houston, said customers are paying for drinks with what may be FEMA or Red Cross debit cards.


While the FEMA-issued card program has been brought to an end, the American Red Cross continues to give out debit cards, called Client Assistance Cards. Like FEMA's program, each disaster victim must agree to use the cards for emergency needs, such as food, housing, and clothing. Those too have been abused; for example, Red Cross records show one was used for entertainment items at a Best Buy (a computers, stereos, TVs, and other electronics store) in Kentucky for more than $1,000.

[edit on 10/20/05 by FredT]

posted on Oct, 20 2005 @ 06:28 AM
Not only that but Ive heard of first hand reports that most of the Debit Card money is being used to buy Alcohol and Cigarettes.

The reason?

Because most of the victims in the Hurricane Katrina disaster are actually on government aid (or the more popular phrase 'food stamps'). Food stamps prohibit the consumption of anything besides food. Thats right, you cant use your stamps to buy $100 Nikes or $30 bottles of Cognac.

Who can blame them though? If the government gave me $800 to compensate their horrible response time...etc, I would use that money to buy whatever I desire.

posted on Oct, 20 2005 @ 08:26 AM
Of course many spent in ways the rest of us would consider irresponsible, but I bet there were many who spent it wisely too.

I think it was a good thing to give out that money. People will abuse anything possible, but that does not mean we should take the good things away.

posted on Oct, 20 2005 @ 08:39 AM
Of course, all you have to do to get the public / political backing to revoke the debit card money is make up a story about someone misusing the money. If they just took it away people would cry foul. If they say someone is blowing it on stuff, then people say "Look at that poor trash wasting our taxpayer money - take it away!"

Even if it did happen, there's no news story that will cover people buying food and diapers with the debit cards.

posted on Oct, 20 2005 @ 08:40 AM
Anyone acting suprised is full of it, people on the whole tend to be stupid and impulsive. Smartest thing anyone could have done with those cards was book a flight or bus or something out of the affected areas and start a new life elsewhere ideally being another country that cares about its less priviledged folks.

posted on Oct, 20 2005 @ 08:48 AM
800$ bags thats just nuts I can see wanting a good stiff drink or 2 or 3 or 4.
It makes you wounder what people's priorities are, I would think a home and food would come to mind. I'm sure this is just a minority of people who do not have the commonsense to get their priorities in order.

From the Bosten Herald

Evacuees binge on Cape: Spend fed cash on booze, strippers
By Maggie Mulvihill and Dave Wedge
Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - Updated: 03:04 PM EST

BOURNE – Hurricane Katrina evacuees hastily handed $2,000 in federal relief money last month have been living it up on Cape Cod, blowing cash on booze and strippers, a Herald investigation has found.

Herald reporters witnessed blatant public drinking at a Falmouth strip mall by Katrina victims living at taxpayer expense at Camp Edwards on Otis Air Force Base. And strippers at Zachary's nightclub in Mashpee, a few miles from the Bourne base, report giving lap dances to several evacuees.

Photo by David Goldman
external image
Hurricane Katrina evacuees drink alcohol in Falmouth.

``They were tipping me $5 a pop,'' said a Zachary's dancer named Angel. ``I told them I felt bad taking their money. But I still took it.''

Another dancer said a large group from the military base was in Zachary's recently and she gave lap dances to several of the victims.

``Some spend good money, but others don't,'' she said.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

posted on Oct, 21 2005 @ 07:47 PM
I was lucky enough to get a Red Cross card. Now while I did not lose any property, I took the card because I missed 2 weeks of work and have an extra person in my home. With this money I have purchased food, clothing (nothing extravagant - JC Penney) and a few items from a local craft store. I would have purchased these items if Katrina had not hit because I need new clothes for my new jobs. I am hoping to get reimbursed from FEMA for my generator and chainsaw and that money will go directly to my credit card which is how I had to pay for these items.

BTW, I am not "poor white trash" living off the government. I pay my taxes and to help cover all the expenses I incurred (the food and gas purchased after the storm) I feel okay about taking the money. BTW, you can't pay your credit card with a debit card and you can't get cash.

I have heard of people who have used their FEMA money on big screen TVs. I would have purchased a new lawn mower with my Red Cross card but all of those have been packed up for the season.

I also know of people who got more than their fair share from FEMA, food stamps, had no damage and either make big money or are continuing to get paid even though they are not back at work.

Just my two cents.


PS - The Red Cross money was a "gift" and not from the government.

[edit on 10/21/2005 by Lady Lily]

posted on Oct, 21 2005 @ 07:48 PM

[edit on 10/21/2005 by Lady Lily]

posted on Oct, 21 2005 @ 08:09 PM

Originally posted by Simulacra
If the government gave me $800 to compensate their horrible response time...etc, I would use that money to buy whatever I desire.

A good reason to not give money anymore.

posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 04:12 PM

Originally posted by FredT
While it seemed like a good plan at the time, the temptation to use the FEMA debit cards for such essential disaster recovery supplies such as an $800 Louis Vuitton handbag.
I guess it is better to look good than to feel good :shk: I wonder how much of that money will be used for what it was truly attended for.

Who? I've never even heard of Louis... wow.. priorities seem to be all out of whack.. Oh well, they got treated fairly, if thats how they want to spend their cash, they are allowed... Just don't be complaining when your sitting ont he corner starving holding your $800 purse in your hand... Can't eat that can you?

posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 04:14 PM
No even I can afford an 800 dollar bag

No with two kids in college, hum . . . life is so unfair.

posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 05:26 PM
As silly as it may seem, if the government put limitations on how the money could be spent people would be making a fuss about it too. I know I wouldn't appreciate being told what to spend on, however, a new handbag, an $800 one no less, wouldn't be on the top of my list.

I don't have a home... but damn! I look good!

posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 05:39 PM

Originally posted by parrhesia
I don't have a home... but damn! I look good!

It is something about a woman with a brand new expensive hand bag that is priceless even if you are homeless.

They stand out like a million buck and is just like a brand name watch people notices you know.

[edit on 25-10-2005 by marg6043]

posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 07:00 PM
Here in the City, we had a lot of the victims, and one TV station went into a group of women coming out of that $800 handbag store and asked them why they spent their RC $$ there.
They all got in his face, and said 'so, cause we are black and poor, we need to shop at way'
In my life it is a treat to be able to shop at afford to.
My handbag I use is a clairborne, but it was a gift from a Rothschild, and I have used it up...I am thankful for health and necessities..

posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 07:28 PM
Find the ones buying hand bags and shoot them. Find the ones buying booze and ask for a Vodka on the Rocks.

Alchohol I can understand, just went through hell, need an escape, and while drinking isn't a healthy way to do so it is a way for some. Strippers? Guys, come on, they lost everything, want a good time to help forget the bad times, can see this.

But 800 dollar hand bags? Why not just blow the whole card on a tv or a watch? Much better waste since they can be useful. Now me? I would buy food, chocolate milk, maybe clothes if I wasn't able to get to many sets out, but I wouldn't go to a Abercrombie or something, Kmart would be enough. I wouldn't buy a 120$ pair of shoes, or a 800$ bag, or anything else like that.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 02:15 PM
Maybe it's not so much what was bought, but the level of extravagance... I'm sure if the lady bought a hand bag for $50, heck, maybe even a little bit more, there wouldn't be such an uproar.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 02:56 PM
Well, people make very bad choices all the time...I've heard of people letting others use their foodstamp cards and in return they get drugs, then they go hungry the rest of the month. Same as selling their prescription medicine. Same as watching someone use their welfare card at the supermarket to purchase large quantities of lobster and shrimp at the checkout. It happens. Let them. In the end, they are the ones who suffer.
You cant change things and hey, a fancy bag looks good in public

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 03:20 PM
I remember driving thru Florida a couple of years ago and pulling into a gas station to fill up. I started to talking to the guy pumping the gas. turns out he was the owner of the station. He told us how the area was wrecked by Andrew and his 4 employees all had damage to their homes and that the gov't gave them all money to repair the damage.

as soon as they had finished drinking and smoking the money away they moved. They couldn't stay because their homes needed work.

The whole system needs to be reworked.

Everyone who suffered is entitled to some cash but the system of doling it out must be changed to avoid the total waste of the money. If they won't change the system, the gov't should open up a liquor store near the devastated areas and at the very least, recoup some of the money.

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