City Government Employees Spent $120,000 In Stolen Food Stamps Buying Red Bull In Bulk

Two employees of the Human Resources Administration — also known as the Department of Social Services — of New York City have been charged with using flaws within the welfare benefits system to steal $2.1 million in food stamps and rent subsidies, the New York Post reports.

Officials say that HRA employees Petronila Peralta and Cherrise Watson-Jackson worked with a network of at least 11 co-conspirators to defraud the welfare system between 2008 and 2013, exchanging cash for the account information of legitimate welfare recipients, and using distributing hundreds of thousands in benefits to ineligible recipients for their own use.

Among other things, Watson-Jackson and other employees used those benefits to purchase $120,000 in Red Bull from BJ's Wholesale Club over the course of five months. As part of the scam, some accomplices were also registered as landlords and issued rental subsidies in exchange for kickbacks.