JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – State Auditor Shad White is making good on his promise to send the attorney general the individual cases of people who owe Mississippi money.
It means Attorney General Lynn Fitch must decide on whether to go after the individuals in a civil suit and recoup unpaid money.
White explained his actions in a statement issued Tuesday:
“A little over 30 days ago, my office issued demands on several individuals ordering them to repay misspent welfare money. As I said at the time, if any of those individuals failed to repay the money, the demands will be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office, which is in charge of enforcing the demands in court. My team has now forwarded the unpaid demands to the AG’s office. My understanding is the Attorney General and the Department of Human Services have given authority to a private attorney to recoup the misspent money. We have been in contact with that attorney and will provide any information he needs.”
The auditor’s office said the following cases have been referred to Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s office due to incomplete payment or nonpayment:
- Austin Smith
- Brett Dibiase
- Favre Enterprises, along with Brett Favre and Robert Culumber
- Heart of David Ministries, controlled by Ted Dibiase, Sr.
- JTS Enterprises and Transformational Ventures, controlled by Brian Jeff Smith
- The Marcus Dupree Foundation, controlled by Marcus Dupree
- Nancy New
- NCC Ventures, controlled by Nicholas Coughlin
- Ted Dibiase, Jr.
- Zach New
- Jacob Black
- John Davis
- Mississippi Community Education Center board members Nancy New, Zach New, Jess New, Brian Bledsoe, Susan Floyd, Virgil “Buddy” Strickland, and Beth Purifoy
- Family Resource Center board members Christy Webb, Jerry Bailey, Debbie Pickens, Jimmy Pappas, Amanda Angle, and Steven Blaylock
This all began years ago when the auditor examined how the Department of Human Services used its funding.
“Two years ago, my office audited DHS,” White said in a news release. “After two years of work, we found tens of millions of dollars in misspending. It’s time for the taxpayers to attempt to recover what we lost.”
Considered the largest embezzlement scheme in the state’s history, the audit found that more than $77 million were improperly used from the state’s welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, through two community-based non-profits.
NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre is among those the auditor says still owes Mississippi.
Out of $1.1 million allegedly owed to the state, Favre has repaid all but a $228,000 interest payment.
“I would never knowingly take funds meant to help our neighbors in need,” Favre said. “But for Shad White to continue to push out this lie that the money was for no-show events is something I cannot stay silent about.”
White fired back saying Favre was lying and expecting favoritism.
“We don’t do these kinda backroom deals where one person gets to come in and meet with me and slaps me on the back and acts like everything should go away,” White said matter of factly. “We link them up with a case agent, so that’s exactly what we did in this case.”
Now all eleven cases are in attorney generals’ hands.
Fitch has yet to give any indication on how she will move forward.
Copyright 2021 WLBT. All rights reserved.