Obama phone waste and fraud blown wide open in undercover video from Project Veritas

Thursday, June 20, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Obama phone, government waste, Project Veritas

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(NaturalNews) The American welfare state is a massive failure but not because the U.S. government doesn't spend enough taxpayer dollars on its vast bureaucracy, or that the American people aren't "compassionate" enough, or that there simply are too few programs to go around. It is a failure because it not only feeds into the very worst of human behavior; it is a powerful enabler which sustains and encourages that bad behavior.

The latest case in point is a program nicknamed the "Obama phone" - a multi-billion "outreach"-turned-boondoggle that is soaking taxpayers and is rife with fraud - at a time when the president is forcing the treasury to shell out nearly $100 million for a trip to Africa, and the sequestration is resulting in furloughs for a loss of 20 percent of pay for Department of Defense employees.

'Hey, I don't judge'

A recent undercover "sting" operation, if you will, by Project Veritas - a conservative investigative organization founded by James O'Keefe - "shows two corporate distributors of free cell phones handing out the mobile devices to people who have promised to sell them for drug money, to buy shoes and handbags, to pay off their bills, or just for extra spending cash," Britain's Daily Mail newspaper reported.

The Obama phone stems from the Federal Communications Commission's "Lifeline" program, which provides landline telephones and cell phones to "low-income" Americans. But O'Keefe's investigation found that, as is the case far too often with federal welfare programs, the $2.19 billion Lifeline program is being abused - badly.

As part of the undercover investigation, an operative for Project Veritas covertly videoed distributors from Stand Up Wireless and TerraCom Wireless handing out Obama phones mostly to people who showed them EBT - Electronic Benefits Transfer - cards, the modern replacement for food stamps. The EBTs are proof that those looking for a free phone qualify for welfare benefits.

In the videos Project Veritas plants are heard telling distributors of the phones that they will use them to "buy drugs" or "buy shoes."

"Once you guys give me this phone, it's my phone?" says one male plant to a brick-and-mortar Stand Up Wireless phone distributor in Philadelphia. "I can, like, sell it and stuff?"

"Whatever you want to do with it," the distributor answered.

"So I'm [going to] get some money for heroin," the plant said.

"Hey, I don't judge," the worker replied.

'You gonna own it!'

At a tent location for Stand Up Wireless, also in Philly, another male O'Keefe plant told the distributor there, "Once it's my phone, I don't need to, like, bring it back or anything? It's my phone, right?"

"Mm-hm," responded the female distributor.

Later in that same conversation the women said, "If you're interested in learning - wanting to know how much the phone's worth, [I] recommend you go to any pawn shop. They'll be more than happy to tell you, OK?"

"Okay," the plant answered. "So I could get the phone and then sell it?"

"Yeah," came the reply. "I don't care what you do with it."

A TerraComm distributor in Minnesota behaved in much the same manner, which, by the way, is a violation of federal law since the phones are supposed to be used by low-income Americans to give potential employers and other similar needs.

Asked by an O'Keefe woman posing as a low-income American if she could sell her phone, the TerraComm rep said, "It's kind of like, the first thing that I do is this here," referring to the filling out of required paperwork. "And unfortunately there are people on drugs. They get this phone, and they go get $40. ... You basically do whatever you want to do with it. That's what I'm trying to tell you."

"Well, I'm not on drugs, but there is a really awesome pair of shoes at the store that I want," says the woman plant.

Laughing, the TerraComm rep replies, "You gonna own it. But if you sell it, you can tell the person that they will have a phone for every month. Every month for the next year they will have a phone. They ain't got to worry about [a] phone. There's no bills."

Except for Americans who pay for their own cell and landline phones. They fund the FCC "Obama phone" program via the Federal Universal Service Charge, which is added to monthly phone bills.

Sources for this article include:




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