A report back in May of 2020 revealed that former NFL quarterback Brett Favre took $1.1 million from embezzled welfare funds in the state of Mississippi for appearances he never made. Now the state's auditor Shad White demands Favre return $828,000 in 30 days or face a civil lawsuit. The Hall of Fame quarterback and Mississippi native received these funds from two different non-profits and is a part of the biggest embezzlement scheme in the state’s history.
White said Favre accepted the money for speaking engagements that he never attended for Families First For Mississippi, which receives funding from the federal government’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, in a letter obtained by Mississippi Today's Anna Wolfe. Here’s what some of what is said in the letter.
“The sum demanded represents illegal expenditures of public funds made to you or to entities or combines for which you are legally obligated to pay and/or the unlawful dispositions of public property, including public funds, made with you or with entities or combines for which you are legally responsible to pay,” the letter reads. “These illegal expenditures and unlawful dispositions were made when you knew or had reason to know through the exercise of reasonable diligence that the expenditures were illegal and/or the dispositions were unlawful.”
Only a few months after the scandal first broke, White announced that Favre had paid back $500,000 immediately and acted in 'good faith' but Mississippi said it was still waiting for that $600,000 a year later. Now they are demanding $823,000 which includes interest.
The TANF funds were paid through a state program started by then-Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and his wife. It still remains unclear how paying millions of dollars for a celebrity endorsement would help the needy. After receiving a bunch of backlash last year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Favre shared his side of the story on Twitter.
Some of the other people involved in the scheme include former WWE wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr. who received $3.9 million in funds he allegedly received for serving as a motivational speaker for Families First. His father and fellow ex-WWE wrestler Ted DiBiase Sr. must pay $722,299 in funds he sent to his Christian ministry to help underprivileged teens.