Brett Favre must pay back $828,000 in missed welfare payments, according to a Mississippi audit agency
The Mississippi auditor said Tuesday that he is demanding the return of $77 million in misspent welfare money in one of the poorest states in the country. This includes $828,000 from Brett Favre and an employee of his company, Favo Enterprises, which the auditor is seeking.
The first allegations of missed payments came to light in early 2020, when former Mississippi Department of Human Services executive director John Davis and five others were indicted in one of the states largest public corruption cases, which the auditor described as a broad conspiracy.
Favre is not facing any criminal charges, but Auditor Shad White stated in May 2020 that the former Green Bay Packers quarterback, who lives in Mississippi, had repaid $500,000 of the $1.1 million in welfare payments he received for several speeches for which il didn't show up. The $600,000 balance, plus $228,000 in interest, was the demand Tuesday.
White made the demands about two weeks after a Maryland-based CPA firm released an independent report on how the Mississippi Department of Human Services spent federal money from 2016 through 2019 through Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. According to the report, questioned costs for items like travel and programs to assist college athletes amounted to nearly $41 million.
The Mississippi auditor is requesting that interest be paid on the $77 million, bringing the total sought to more than $96 million. White is requesting that amount from Davis, as well as the majority of it from two non-profit organizations, Mississippi Community Education Center and the Family Resource Center, and Davis will pay the total amount.
An accountant pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit embezzlement for her role in the case on Monday. Anne McGrew, 65, of Jackson, entered a guilty verdict in Hinds County Circuit Court, and as part of her sentence, she agreed to testify against other indicted, including her one-time employers, Nancy New and Zach New, whose parents ran nonprofit and for-profit organizations that received state funding from the Department of Human Services.
McGrew said in court documents that she assisted Nancy New, Zach New and others in transferring money received by Mississippi Community Education Center to bank accounts owned by New Learning Inc., a for-profit firm owned jointly by Nancy and Zach Neu.
McGrew, who faces up to five years in prison, signed a court document that said prosecutors will make recommandations about her sentence on the basis of her cooperation in the prosecution of co-defendants and her willingness to provide truthful testimony at any trial.
Those indicted were the departments former director, John Davis; former professional wrestler Brett DiBiase; ex-Department of Human Services employee Latimer Smith; Nancy New, who has been the director of Mississippi Community Education Center and New Learning Resources; Zach New who is the education center's assistant executive director; and McGrew, an accountant.
Davis left the Department of Human Services in July 2019. He has pleaded not guilty and his trial is set for Nov. 1. However, his lawyers are requesting a delay because they stated in n/a released on Sept. 29 that prosecutors have produced extraordinary information about the case.
Smith has pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 8. He is charged with felony murder and is due to commence on Nov 8.
Nancy New and Zach New have also been indicted on federal charges. They have pleaded not guilty in federal court and state court, and they are scheduled to be tried in both courts.
According to nonprofit tax returns, the Mississippi Community Education Center, which is part of Families First for Mississippi, received more than $44 million in government grants from mid-2014 to mid-2018. In the final two years, amounts climbed to $12.9 million and $26.7 million, as Davis outsourced a large portion of Mississippis Temporary Assistance to Needy Families spending to the group.
DiBiase, now 33, pleaded guilty in December to one count of making a false statement. He claimed in court documents that he had submitted documents and received full payment for work if a task drew him to it. He agreed to pay $48,000 in restitution and his sentencing was postponed.
Indictments allege Davis conspired with Nancy New to send $48,000 in block grant money to pay for DiBiases drug rehabilitation in Malibu, California, in early 2019. Davis and Smith falsified invoices and other records, according to prosecutors. Payments were made to an organization owned by DiBiase supposedly for teaching classes about drug abuse.
In November 2020, Hinds County Circuit Judge Faye Peterson issued a gag order to prevent prosecutors, defense attorneys, and others from discussing the case against Nancy New publicly. Adrienne Wooten, another Hinds County circuit judge, issued the same ruling in February in McGrews case.
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