JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)– It’s Mississippi’s largest embezzlement case in history. The state auditor says millions of dollars meant to help the poor were stolen. The director of human services John Davis who retired from that public position just last year was indicted on three counts of embezzlement. He wasn’t the only one. Five others are also facing charges.
Former human services director John Davis and his former employee Latimer Smith made up false documents to pay former WWE wrestler Brett DiBiase with money from the DHS program Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to teach classes on drug abuse. Documents show a total of $48,000 of public funds were paid to DiBiase through the business Restore2 LLC.
Prosecutors say the classes didn’t take place and Smith and Davis knew it. DiBiase was in California for drug treatment.
” I can tell you that what we thought was the most important thing to determine was what happened and that if we found it was money that was being taken, money that was being stolen then we would put a stop to it quickly and efficiently,” said state auditor Shad White.
Davis allowed Nancy New and her son Zach to use the TANF funds transferred to their private non-profit, the Mississippi Community Education Center, to pay for DiBiase’s treatment.
The education center’s bookkeeper Anne McGrew was also charged with falsifying documents, invoices, and ledgers.
Court documents also show the News converted the public grant money received from the State of Mississippi, their organization was responsible for handing out, and transferred those funds from their bank account into several other accounts to buy investments in biomedical companies in Florida.
“We will continue to hold those accountable that do these things to our county and our state,” said Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens.
According to indictment papers, the scheme adds up to more than $4 million.
Prosecutors say more money could be found that’s missing, and more indictments could be coming.