JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) – The Mississippi auditor on Tuesday said he was demanding repayment of $ 77 million in poorly spent welfare money in one of the nation’s poorest states. That includes $ 828,000 that the auditor is seeking from retired NFL player Brett Favre and an employee of his company, Favre Enterprises.
The first allegations of abusive spending came to light in early 2020 when former Mississippi Department of Social Services executive director John Davis and five others were indicted in one of the biggest public corruption cases in the world. ‘State, which the auditor then described as a “sprawling plot”.
Favre is not facing any criminal charges, but Auditor Shad White said in May 2020 that the former Green Bay Packers quarterback, who lives in Mississippi, repaid $ 500,000 of the 1.1 million dollars in social assistance he had received for several speeches he did not show up for. Tuesday’s claim is for the balance of $ 600,000, plus $ 228,000 in interest.
White made the requests about two weeks after a Maryland-based CPA firm released an independent report on how the Mississippi Department of Social Services spent 2016 to 2019 federal money through temporary assistance. to needy families. The report revealed nearly $ 41 million in âdisputed costsâ for items such as travel and varsity athlete support programs.
The Mississippi auditor demands payment of interest on the $ 77 million, bringing the sought total to over $ 96 million. White is demanding this total amount from Davis and the bulk of two nonprofits, the Mississippi Community Education Center and the Family Resource Center.
On Monday, an accountant pleaded guilty to conspiracy to embezzle funds for her role in the case. Hinds County Circuit Court records show that as part of her guilty plea, Anne McGrew, 65, of Jackson, agreed to testify against other indicted people, including her former employers, Nancy New and Zach New, a mother and son who ran a nonprofit and profit organization that received money from the state Department of Human Services.
McGrew said in court records that she helped Nancy New, Zach New and others transfer money received by the Mississippi Community Education Center to bank accounts owned by New Learning Inc., a for-profit company. owned by Nancy New and Zach New.
McGrew, who could face up to five years in prison, signed a court document according to which prosecutors will make a recommendation regarding his sentence based on his cooperation in prosecuting the co-defendants and his “willingness to provide truthful testimony” at all trials.
Those charged were the former head of the department, John Davis; former professional wrestler Brett DiBiase; former employee of the Department of Social Services, Latimer Smith; Nancy New, who served as director of the Mississippi Community Education Center and New Learning Resources; Zach New, who was deputy general manager of the education center; and McGrew, an accountant for the education center.
Davis left the Department of Social Services in July 2019. He has pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled for November 1. However, his lawyers are asking for a delay because they said in a September 29 court document that prosecutors had produced “” information about the case.
Smith has pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 8.
Nancy New and Zach New have also been charged with federal charges. They have pleaded not guilty in federal and state courts and are awaiting trial in both locations.
The Mississippi Community Education Center, operating as Families First for Mississippi, received more than $ 44 million in government grants from mid-2014 to mid-2018, according to nonprofit organizations’ tax returns. The amounts have risen to $ 12.9 million and $ 26.7 million over the past two years, as Davis has outsourced much of Mississippi’s temporary assistance spending to needy families to the group.
DiBiase, now 33, pleaded guilty in December to one count of misrepresentation. He said in court documents that he submitted documents and received full payment for work he did not complete. He agreed to pay $ 48,000 in restitution and his sentence was deferred.
The indictments allege that Davis conspired with Nancy New to send $ 48,000 in block grants to pay for the rehabilitation of DiBiase addicts in Malibu, Calif., In early 2019. Payments were made to a company owned by DiBiase purportedly for his drug addiction education classes, with Davis and Smith forged bills and other documents, prosecutors said.
In November 2020, Hinds County Circuit Judge Faye Peterson issued a silence order to prevent prosecutors, defense attorneys and others from publicly discussing the case against Nancy New. Another Hinds County Circuit Judge, Adrienne Wooten, issued the same order in February in the McGrew case.
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