In a development that could impact Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, a key figure in a Mississippi welfare hijacking scandal, reached a plea deal with prosecutors on Thursday. state and federal.
In a settlement announced by the US Department of Justice, John Davis, the former director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, pleaded guilty on Thursday to his role in a scheme that embezzled more than $70 million in social funds intended for to support the state. most needy residents. In return for the plea, Davis is expected to cooperate with investigators seeking additional indictments in the scam.
Davis’ cooperation is considered essential for state and federal prosecutors, who are seeking information on others who may be involved in the various stages of embezzlement. Those under investigation include several unnamed (for now) co-conspirators with Davis.
Favre has come under media scrutiny for nearly $8.1 million in social funds allegedly distributed to entities linked to the former NFL star. Of that sum, $1.1 million went directly to Favre for public appearances he would not have made, as well as $5 million for the construction of a volleyball building at the alma mater de Favre, the University of Southern Mississippi, and another $2 million to a pharmaceutical startup to which Favre has been tied as an investor.
Favre repaid the $1.1 million for unfinished speaking engagements — but not the accrued interest prosecutors were seeking — and his attorney denied the former NFL quarterback knew any welfare funds. be were operated for one of his companies. With his plea deal, Davis could answer any questions from prosecutors about Favre’s level of knowledge or influence, as well as shed light on any meetings regarding funds that went to entities connected to the former. NFL star.
According to the DOJ announcement, Davis ordered his office to provide “federal funds to two nonprofit organizations and then ordered the two organizations to fraudulently award contracts to various entities and individuals for social services that do not ‘have never been provided’.
As part of his plea, Davis is expected to reveal how this alleged fraud was established and the specific people who benefited from it. Such cooperation is seen as a massive coup for state and federal prosecutors, who have accused Davis of being a central facilitator in the hijacking scam. Davis had been indicted on two dozen charges for his role in the hijackings and would have faced a potential of nearly 50 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Instead, with his cooperation and plea deal for a handful of charges, he is expected to face only a fraction of that time behind bars in exchange for cooperation that may involve other figures.
Davis’ guilty plea is the second major agreement reached in the case by prosecutors, following nonprofit director Nancy New, who was indicted and in April pleaded guilty to 13 crimes related to the investigation. New has been accused of leading a nonprofit organization that served as a pipeline to move welfare funds to various projects in a venture that state and government authorities historically describe as a “well-being” conspiracy. -being for the well-connected”.
Besides Favre, prosecutors are also investigating former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. Reports published by Mississippi Today detail alleged texts linking Bryant, Davis, New and Favre to funds sought for the volleyball construction project at Southern Miss. Among those documents, Bryant reportedly directed Favre on how to write a funding proposal that would be approved by the Mississippi Department of Social Services. Bryant denied any memory of using welfare funds for inappropriate projects.