MDHS files civil complaint to recover millions in misspent TANF funds

In an exclusive interview the Executive Director of MDHS says there could be additional parties and additional claims
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 9:59 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi Department of Human Services has filed a civil complaint against 38 individuals and businesses. MDHS leaders are working to recover millions in misspent funds meant to help needy families. 3 On Your Side talks exclusively with the Executive Director of MDHS about the lawsuit and the ongoing investigation.

At the top of the list in the civil complaint is John Davis who is the former Executive Director of the Department of Human Services for over 23 million dollars. Davis was recently re-indicted in April and now faces 20 felony counts.

Davis is among six people accused in the largest fraud and embezzlement of public funds in state history.

Nancy New and her son Zack New have pleaded guilty to federal and state charges. Nancy New was accused of owing the state more than 19 million dollars, with Zack New over two million dollars. Another son, Jess New, was included in the lawsuit for more than 2.6 million dollars.

Bob Anderson is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

Anderson said, “We got our forensic audit results back in October of last year. Since that time, we, you know, we spent a good bit of time analyzing those results, identifying all of the parties that we thought were responsible for misspending this money, and those are the parties that are in this complaint today.”

Anderson says this is the initial complaint by the state.

“While we move forward with the discovery phase of this lawsuit, we’ll be evaluating each step of the path whether there are other parties, whether there’s additional sums and who else and what else needs to be a part of this lawsuit,” said Anderson.

Favre is included in the lawsuit for 3.2 million dollars along with his business partner Jake...
Favre is included in the lawsuit for 3.2 million dollars along with his business partner Jake Vanlandingham for 2.1 million dollars.(WLBT)

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre is also on the list for 3.2 million dollars, along with his business partner Jake Vanlandingham for 2.1 million dollars. Anderson ordered the forensic audit to identify those involved in misspending money meant for needy families in Mississippi. Some of the individuals in the civil complaint have not been charged with a crime.

Anderson said, “The governor appointed me to put this agency back on track. We put in a lot of internal controls initially; that was step one. Step two in this process is recouping the taxpayers’ money, and that’s what this lawsuit and this complaint is about, doing just that.”

Ted DiBiase, Sr. and two of his sons are named in the civil complaint.
Ted DiBiase, Sr. and two of his sons are named in the civil complaint.(WLBT)
Brett DiBiase was indicted and pleaded guilty to state charges in 2020.
Brett DiBiase was indicted and pleaded guilty to state charges in 2020.(WLBT)

Several members of a well-known wrestling family are named in the lawsuit. Ted DiBiase, Sr. for nearly two million dollars. Ted DiBiase, Jr. for more than 2.8 million dollars. Brett DiBiase was indicted and pleaded guilty to state charges in 2020. Paul Lacoste, known for his workout boot camps, was included in the civil complaint for more than 1.3 million dollars.

“Our job now is to see that that money gets back into the state coffers so that we can benefit those needy families who were supposed to benefit from this money in the first place,” Anderson said.

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