JACKSON, Miss. The Mississippi Department of Human Services filed Monday a lawsuit against Brett Favre, an ex-NFL quarterback, and three former professional wrestlers to recover millions of welfare dollars. These funds were supposed to be used to assist the nation's poorest citizens.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants “squandered more than $20,000,000 in funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families antipoverty program.
Two weeks ago, a mother and her son ran a Mississippi education company and a non-profit group. They pleaded guilty in state criminal court to mispending. Nancy New (69) and Zachary New (39), agreed to testify in this case, which state Auditor Shad white called Mississippi's biggest public corruption case over the past 20 years.
In 2020, Nancy New and Zachary New were indicted by the state. Prosecutors claimed that welfare money was being misappropriated for items like drug rehabilitation in Malibu for Brett DiBiase, former professional wrestler.
DiBiase is one of the defendants in the Hinds County Circuit Court filed Monday. His father Ted DiBiase Sr. as well as Ted “Teddy” DiBiase Jr. are also defendants.
Ted DiBiase Sr. is known as “The Million Dollar Man” in wrestling. According to the lawsuit, he is a Christian evangelist, motivational speaker, as well as a Christian evangelist. He also ran Heart of David Ministries Inc. which received $1.7 Million in welfare grant money in 2017-2018 for mentorship, marketing, and other services.
White demanded $77 million in restitution from several individuals and groups last year, which included $1.1 million that Favre, who resides in Mississippi, received. Favre has not been charged for any criminal offense.
White claimed that Favre was paid for his speeches, but he did not turn up. Favre has since repaid the money. White, however, stated that Favre still owed $228,000 of interest in October. Favre stated that he didn't know the money he had received from welfare funds in a Facebook post. Favre claimed that his charity had distributed millions of dollars in Mississippi and Wisconsin to poor children.
The auditor's office handed over the demands to repay the misplaced welfare money to the Mississippi attorney General's Office for enforcement months ago. White stated Monday that he knew that the attorney-general's office would eventually file suit.
White said, “I applauded the team filing the suit and am thankful the state is taking an additional step toward justice to the taxpayers.” “We will work with our federal partners — who have been granted access to all evidence for more than 2 years — to ensure that the case is thoroughly investigated.”
According to the lawsuit, Favre was at one point the largest outside investor and stockholder of Prevacus (a Florida-based company trying to develop a concussion medication). The suit claims that Favre requested Prevacus CEO Jake VanLandingham in December 2018 to ask Nancy New to use welfare money to invest in her company.
According to the suit, Favre also hosted a Prevacus stock sale presentation at his house in January 2019, which was attended by VanLandingham and Davis, Nancy New, Zach New, Ted DiBiase Jr. and that an agreement was made to spend “substantial” welfare grant money in Prevacus, and later in PreSolMD Inc.
According to the suit, the stock was owned by Nancy New and Zach New, but it was also used for the financial benefit Favre and VanLandingham as well as the two companies. The suit demands the repayment of $2.1 million in welfare money that was wrongly transferred to the two businesses in 2019.
Monday was Monday when the Associated Press called a number that used to be listed as Favre Enterprises. A recording stated it was no longer in use.
Lynn Fitch, Attorney General, and Gov. Tate Reeves made a joint statement Monday, stating that the suit was initiated to seek justice for the “broken trust” of the Mississippi people and recover the misappropriated funds.
In 2016, the then-Gov. Davis selected Davis to head the Department of Human Services. Phil Bryant — who like White, Fitch and Reeves is a Republican. Davis retired from politics in July 2019 and is now awaiting trial on criminal charges for the mispending.
Brett DiBiase admitted to making a false declaration and pleaded guilty on December 2020. He claimed in court documents that the documents he submitted had been accepted and that he was paid for all work not completed. He paid $48,000 in restitution. His sentencing was postponed.