auditor demands reimbursement of poorly spent welfare money | Mississippi Politics and News


Multiple audits now confirm millions of dollars intended for the poor have been spent illegally

State Auditor Shad White’s office responded to requests for more than $ 77 million in TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) money ill-spent today. The people who approved the illegal spending, like the former executive director of the Department of Social Services (DHS), John Davis, as well as the vendors who received these funds but did not do all the work required under their contracts, have received these requests.

“Two years ago my office audited DHS,” White said. “After two years of work, we found tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary spending. Those findings have now been confirmed this month by an independent forensic audit commissioned by DHS. It is time for taxpayers to try to recover what we have lost.

The DHS forensic audit, which was conducted by an independent outside Maryland CPA firm, released its findings on October 1. Human Services before drawing any final conclusions about who owed what in return, ”White said. “These partners were waiting for this forensic audit. Now that this is over, we are in a position to demand that the social funds spent illegally be returned to the state.

The auditor’s office demanded $ 96.313 million from Davis – including interest – for his role authorizing more than $ 77 million in illegal TANF spending.

Two nonprofits, the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) and the Family Resource Center (FRC), either mis-spent or misallocated portions of that $ 77 million, meaning the money ultimately went been poorly spent by a provider of the nonprofit organization. As a result, the board and management of MCEC received a request for $ 68.159 million. FRC’s board and management have received a request for $ 15.549 million.

Auditors issued additional demands to vendors who received part of the $ 77 million in social spending but did not fully fulfill the terms of their contracts:

  • Austin Smith: $ 378,791
  • Brett Dibiase: $ 225,950
  • Favre Enterprises, with Brett Favre and Robert Culumber: $ 828,000
  • Heart of David Ministries, controlled by Ted Dibiase, Sr.: $ 722,299
  • JTS Enterprises and Transformational Ventures, controlled by Brian Jeff Smith: $ 674,715
  • The Marcus Dupree Foundation, controlled by Marcus Dupree: $ 789,534
  • Nancy Nouveau: $ 2,589 (for payments received from FRC)
  • NCC Ventures, controlled by Nicholas Coughlin: $ 237,915
  • Ted Dibiase, Jr .: $ 3.903 million
  • Warren Washington Issaquena Sharkey Community Action Agency, plus agency heads Jan Vaughn, Jannis Williams, Janice Jelks and Delinda Robinson: $ 75,261
  • Zach New: $ 74,118 (for payments received from FRC)

Former DHS Deputy Director Jacob Black also received a claim for $ 1,824 for unauthorized first class air travel.

These board members, nonprofit executives and individuals are jointly and individually responsible for applications. This means that the individuals share the responsibility for repaying a portion of the total amount with John Davis.

If the sums requested are not reimbursed within 30 days, the Attorney General’s office is responsible for executing the requests in court. These requests are civil and not criminal in nature. A civil claim does not imply criminal liability.

“I am grateful that DHS Director Bob Anderson worked with the Attorney General’s Office to hire a lawyer to recover these funds. These requests are the next step in the recovery process. If there is more money that the Attorney General says has been poorly spent than what we identified in these requests, we are ready to help them investigate if necessary, ”White said. “More requests are possible. “

At this time, the Mississippi Office of the Auditor General will not comment on the ongoing investigation or criminal proceedings.

Press release

12/10/2021


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