Former wrestler pleads guilty again to Mississippi welfare fraud

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — The former professional wrestler pleaded guilty Thursday. waste of welfare money It was supposed to help needy families in Mississippi, one of the poorest states in the United States.

Brett DiBiase faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to defraud the federal government.

He pleaded guilty in December 2020 to state charges of making false statements to defraud the government. State sentencing has been stayed and DiBiase is working with state and federal investigators to investigate others in the case, Hines County District Attorney Jody Owens said.

Owens and Mississippi State Comptroller Shad White announced DiBiase’s federal guilty plea.

“I applaud our federal partners for continuing to hold federal accountability to all individuals responsible for theft from Mississippi’s most needy and vulnerable citizens,” Owens said Thursday. said to “This case is far from over, and the state of Mississippi and the U.S. government will continue to pursue anyone involved in this scam, regardless of status or position.”

White said the audit firm will continue to assist prosecutors in determining who will be held criminally responsible.

“I am pleased that our work to expose the greatest public misconduct in state history continues to lead to convictions,” White said.

John Davis, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services from 2016 to mid-2019, said: plead guilty Last September, it responded to state and federal complaints related to wasting funds through temporary assistance programs for families in need.

Davis’ state court claim primarily related to welfare funds spent on DiBiase, including $160,000 for the former wrestler’s drug rehabilitation in Malibu, California.

Davis, DiBiase and four others attended. indicted on state charges The case of unpaid welfare expenses in February 2020.

Two of them were indicted mother and son The man, who ran a nonprofit and an education company, pleaded guilty in April 2022 and pleaded guilty to misusing welfare funds, including lavish gifts such as first-class airfare for Davis. Nancy New and Zachary New ran an organization that raised welfare funds for DiBiase’s drug rehab. They agreed to testify against others.

Welfare scandal implicates celebrities, including retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre, lives in Mississippi. Ferb has not been charged with criminal charges, but in an attempt to recoup some of the welfare funds that were wasted while Davis was in charge, the current Human Service has served his 30 people in a civil lawsuit filed by the director. He is one of the above defendants.

The welfare fund has funded pet projects for the wealthy, including a $5 million volleyball field that Favre supported at his alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi, state auditors said. Favre’s daughter has been playing volleyball at school since 2017.