Ex-Mississippi state official, John Davis, has pleaded guilty in the welfare case in which former NFL star Brett Favre’s project received $1 million.
According to the DOJ, Davis–a former director of the Mississippi Department Of Human Services–pleaded guilty to state and federal charges on Sept. 22 concerning the alleged fraud scheme. The scheme, a state auditor said, misused $70 million in welfare dollars, including putting money into projects linked to prominent Mississippi figures such as Favre. The auditor added that approximately $77 million was intended for the state welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
The DOJ said Davis and “his co-conspirators” used federal funds “for their personal use and benefit.”
“At Davis’s direction, MDHS provided federal funds to two nonprofit organizations and then directed the two nonprofit organizations to fraudulently award contracts to various entities and individuals for social services that were never provided,” prosecutors said.
Davis pleaded guilty to two federal counts; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. As such, he could reportedly be sentenced to up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count and ten years on the theft count. He was also charged with 18 state counts.
Davis additionally pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy and 13 counts of fraud in Hinds County, District Attorney Jody E. Owens tweeted.
“Davis was one of six Defendants arrested and later indicted in 2020 in one of the largest embezzlement schemes in Mississippi history,” Owens said.
Former DHS Executive Director John Davis has pleaded guilty to five counts of Conspiracy and 13 counts of Fraud against the Government. Davis was one of six Defendants arrested and later indicted in 2020 in one of the largest embezzlement schemes in Mississippi history. pic.twitter.com/LQ78b9dHo3
— Jody E. Owens II Hinds County District Attorney (@OwensforDa) September 22, 2022
State Auditor Shad White called the alleged scheme “the most egregious misspending my staff have seen in their careers.” The finding was reportedly uncovered by a state audit of federal funds allocated to state agencies in 2020.