Former WWE wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr. charged in Mississippi welfare scandal involving NFL legend Brett Favre

Former WWE wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr. has been charged for his involvement in the largest corruption case in the history of Mississippi. The entire welfare scandal is about the misappropriation of roughly $77 million intended for low-income families in the poorest state in the nation.

Court documents show that DiBiase, along with co-conspirators John Davis, Christi Webb, Nancy New and others, obtained federal funds from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and misappropriated the money for their own personal use.

After federal funds were issued, Davis — the former executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services — would direct MDHS to sub-grant the funds to the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi Inc. (FRC) and Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC), which were two nonprofit organizations operated by Webb and New, respectively.

Davis would then allegedly direct Webb and New to give money to individuals and companies through sham contracts. According to the Department of Justice, at least five of those contracts were for DiBiase’s companies, Priceless Ventures LLC and Familiae Orientem LLC. DiBiase’s companies were given millions of dollars in federal funds for social services that he “did not provide and did not intend to provide.”

DiBiase allegedly used the money to buy a vehicle and a boat, as well as for the down payment on the purchase of a house, among other expenditures.

“DiBiase is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, six counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, and four counts of money laundering,” read the document released on Thursday.

If convicted, DiBiase could be facing a a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy count. Each wire fraud count has a maximum penalty of 20 years. There is also a maximum penalty of 10 years for each count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and for each count of money laundering.

Davis pleaded guilty for one count of conspiracy and one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds on Sept. 22, 2022. New and her son, Zach, pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud charges in April 2022. This past March, Mississippi Today reported that Webb pleaded guilty to one count of theft concerning federal funds.

DiBiase’s brother, Brett, and father,Ted DiBiase Sr., were also allegedly involved. After a federal audit was completed, DiBiase was asked to return $3.9 million, while his father was ordered to pay $722, 299. Brett was asked for $225,950, but he pleaded guilty in December 2020 in a state court for making false representations to defraud the government, and then pleaded guilty to a federal charge in March of this year.

Another high-profile figured involved in the scandal is NFL legend Brett Favre. Here is a full explainer and timeline of Favre’s involvement in the Mississippi welfare scandal.

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