Ex-Director Of Mississippi Welfare Agency Pleads Guilty In Fraud Case

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A erstwhile manager of Mississippi’s payment bureau pleaded blameworthy Thursday to caller national charges successful a conspiracy to misspend tens of millions of dollars that were intended to assistance needy families successful 1 of the poorest states successful the U.S. — portion of the largest nationalist corruption case successful the state’s history.

John Davis appeared successful national tribunal to plead blameworthy to 1 number of conspiracy and 1 number of fraud against the government. During the hearing, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves asked respective questions astir whether Davis understood the charges to which helium was pleading guilty.

“Yes, sir,” Davis responded each time.

Reeves acceptable sentencing for Feb. 2. Davis remains escaped connected bond, and the justice said helium hopes Davis makes amended decisions from present on.

“I look guardant to hoping that this information of your beingness is down you,” Reeves said.

Davis was indicted connected authorities charges successful February 2020. He was re-indicted this spring connected authorities charges that helium participated successful misusing payment money, including utilizing immoderate to nonstop a erstwhile pro wrestler to a luxury cause rehab facility.

The authorities charges are being dropped successful speech for Davis agreeing to plead blameworthy to national charges and to attest against others successful the case, according to a authorities tribunal statement filed Wednesday. The authorities tribunal papers said Davis had agreed to plead blameworthy to 5 counts of conspiracy and 13 counts of fraud successful national court, but helium pleaded blameworthy to 1 number of each. Attorneys successful national tribunal did not notation aggregate charges oregon explicate the contents of the authorities tribunal document.

The national charges were handed down Sept. 15, but remained sealed until Wednesday. Federal tribunal records amusement Davis appeared earlier a magistrate justice Wednesday, and that Davis waived indictment and agreed to beryllium prosecuted nether the national charges.

Davis was enforcement manager of the Mississippi Department of Human Services from February 2016 done July 2019. He was appointed to the occupation by then-Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican.

The national charges accidental Davis conspired with 4 different people, who are not named. Court documents picture 2 of the alleged conspirators arsenic enforcement directors of organizations, 1 arsenic the proprietor of 2 companies and 1 lone arsenic a nonmigratory of Hinds County, Mississippi. The superior metropolis of Jackson is successful Hinds County.

The conspiracy charges accidental 1 of the organizations paid astir $498,000 to 1 of the companies successful June 2018. A fewer days later, that institution entered a $1.1 cardinal declaration with the different institution “purportedly successful speech for creating a programme to service inner-city youth.” The charges besides accidental the aforesaid enactment paid $700,000 that summertime to the institution with the younker programme contract.

The theft charges accidental Davis misused national grants of much than $10,000.

The conspiracy complaint is punishable by up to 5 years successful situation and a $250,000 fine, and the theft complaint carries up to 10 years successful situation and a $250,000 fine.

In April, a parent and lad who ran a nonprofit enactment and an acquisition institution pleaded guilty to authorities charges of misusing payment money, including connected lavish gifts specified arsenic first-class airfare for Davis. Nancy New and Zachary New agreed to attest against others.

In a authorities tribunal filing Sept. 12, an lawyer for 1 of the News’ organizations listed text messages betwixt retired NFL backmost Brett Favre and Nancy New, betwixt Favre and Bryant and betwixt Bryant and New.

The messages showed discussions astir millions of dollars successful payment wealth being directed to a favored task of Favre — a volleyball installation being built astatine the University of Southern Mississippi. Favre, Bryant and New each attended the university, and Favre’s girl started playing volleyball determination successful 2017. Favre and Bryant person not been charged successful the payment misspending case.

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