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Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre’s name has surfaced in an alleged multimillion-dollar welfare fraud scheme in his home state of Mississippi.
An audit of funds intended to assist at-need Mississippi residents alleges that the state’s Department of Human Services oversaw more than $94 million in improperly spent federal money.
According to the state audit released on Monday, $1.1 million of those funds went to Favre for appearances he did not make.
The Mississippi Clarion Ledger and Associated Press both analyzed the documents and report that the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) was one of multiple nonprofits tasked by the DHS with spending money through the federal government’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Favre ‘did not speak nor was he present’
The audit states that the MCEC paid Favre’s company, Favre Enterprises, $500,000 in December 2017 and $600,000 in June 2018 for appearances. According to the Clarion-Ledger, those appearances were to include promotions, autographs and speaking engagements.
According to the audit conducted by State Auditor Shad White’s office, “auditors were able to determine that the individual contracted did not speak nor was he present for those events.”
The Clarion-Ledger and AP both reached out to Favre and his representatives on Monday and did not immediately receive a response. Favre is not facing criminal charges.
‘Most egregious misspending’
White said in a statement that the audit “shows the most egregious misspending my staff have seen in their careers.”
“If there was a way to misspend money, it seems DHS leadership or their grantees thought of it and tried it,” White said.
The audit arrived on the heels of criminal charges against former DHS director John Davis and five others who stand accused of embezzling $4 million in welfare funds. They pleaded not guilty in February.
Davis is accused of improperly directing MCEC and the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi to spend millions of dollars of TANF funds.
Other alleged misspent funds
In addition to the funds paid to Favre, MCEC is accused of directing more than $1 million in welfare funds to Davis’ nephew and brother-in-law, paying professional wrestlers, Ted DiBiase, Ted DiBiase Jr., and Brett DiBiase for work that wasn’t performed and purchasing three cars valued at more than $50,000 each for MCEC director Nancy New and her family.
New is one of the officials facing embezzlement charges.
White called the case one of Mississippi’s largest public corruption cases in decades. He said an end result of the corruption could be a reduction in federal welfare funds for Mississippi, the poorest state in the country.
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