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NYS has Feb. 22 deadline to pass welfare fraud law

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: NYS has Feb. 22 deadline to pass welfare fraud law
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NORTH COUNTRY, N.Y. -- The clock is ticking as New York State waits for the Assembly to pass a welfare abuse and fraud law.

If within the next ten days the state doesn't pass a prevention method, it risks losing more than $120 million in federal aid per year.

The State Senate recently approved a bill that would prohibit the use of EBT cards in ATM machines, casino's, liquor stores and strip clubs.

It would also stop the purchases of tobacco, alcohol and lottery tickets with those cards.

Penalties include a permanent ban on benefits if caught doing so more than three times.

North Country Assemblywoman Addie Russell is one member of the Assembly pushing to get something done.

"Investigations have showed that these types of purchases are occurring. We really need to take a much harsher stance in ensuring that's not how these funds are being used," said Russell.

There is a version of the Senate bill in Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget but it does not include the tobacco, alcohol and lottery tickets provision and the punishments are not as stiff.

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