Another article about skid row and the homeless issue... Los Angeles Times staff reporter Richard Winton writes this article in December 2006. He talks about how the homeless are being exploited along skid row. The already vulnerable broken and fragile members of society are being taken advantage of, that is pretty low.
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Read the whole story here: Skid row scams cost taxpayers millions
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The homeless take 50 cents on the dollar in food stamp schemes. Clinics do bogus tests.
By Richard Winton, Times Staff Writer
December 15, 2006
L.A.'s skid row has become a magnet for fraud schemes that use the area's homeless population to rip off the federal government, authorities said this week as they launched a crackdown on the activities.
In just the last few months, state and federal investigators have broken up two food stamp scams, one of which involved a merchant who allegedly gave homeless people 50 cents on the dollar for their stamps, then charged the entire value — $6 million — to the government.
In November, officials filed charges against the owner of a MacArthur Park-area clinic for allegedly rounding up homeless people on skid row with Medi-Cal or Medicare cards and giving them a battery of medical tests charged to government programs. Authorities allege the bogus tests cost taxpayers at least $1.6 million and perhaps much more.
Also, a hospital in South Los Angeles is under investigation to determine whether it recruited homeless people for short stays at federal expense, according to law enforcement sources.
The incidents are the latest crime problem on skid row, a long-troubled area of downtown that is home to an estimated 10,000 homeless people and the largest drug-dealing bazaar in Los Angeles. The city is in the midst of a major effort to clean up the district.
But police worry that these latest scams are helping fuel skid row's drug trade by allowing homeless people to get cash to buy drugs.
"We have taxpayer money meant for food being converted to cash that goes to buy drugs from dealers and gang members," said LAPD Capt. Andrew Smith, who oversees policing on skid row.