Brett DiBiase pleads guilty in Mississippi DHS embezzlement scheme

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Thursday, Hinds County District Attorney, Jody E. Owens II, announced Brett DiBiase entered a guilty plea for the felony act of making fraudulent statements for the purposes of defrauded the government.

Between November 2018 and February 2019, DiBiase submitted false documentation of work perform to the Mississippi Department of Human Services (DHS) and was paid with public funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds intended for needy families.

According to Owens, DiBiase has agreed to pay back restitution of all the money that was received illegally and to continue to cooperate with the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office.

The State Auditor’s investigation revealed that former DHS Director John Davis and DHS employee, Latimer Smith, created invoices to pay DiBiase TANF funds for reaching classes about drug abuse, but DiBiase was in a luxury rehabilitation facility for his own drug use in California at the time and did not perform the services.

Owens stated, “Mr. DiBiase’s plea is the start of holding all individuals involved accountable through the criminal justice system. State Auditor Shad White and his team’s immediate and thorough investigation and subsequent arrest made this plea possible. We will continue working with Auditor White to bring justice to all of Mississippi’s taxpayers who were victims of these senseless crimes of greed and corruption.”

“My staff and I applaud the work of District Attorney Owens and his team for their work on this
case. This felony plea represents another important step forward in achieving justice for the
taxpayers and the other victims of this scheme,” said State Auditor Shad White.

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