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In-Depth: How Brett Favre Secured $6 Million In Welfare Funds For A Volleyball Stadium

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“Multiple prosecutors” are still examining the facts and making decisions about criminal charges in Mississippi’s sprawling welfare scandal that saw millions in funds meant for poor families go instead to wealthy celebrities, Mississippi State Auditor Shad White said on Thursday, Sept. 15.

The auditor made that remark on CNN after court documents filed on Monday, Sept. 12, revealed dozens of text messages showing how retired-NFL star Brett Favre, former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and nonprofit leader Nancy New coordinated on procuring welfare funds to finance an $8-million volleyball stadium.

New ran the nonprofit Mississippi Community Education Center when it directed $5 million in Temporary Assistance For Needy Families to The University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation, whose board she sat on, to fund the stadium on the Hattiesburg campus. Her nonprofit also directed $1.1 million to Favre for motivational speeches he never delivered.

She and her son, Zach New, have pled guilty to multiple state charges, including bribery and wire fraud as part of a plea agreement. The newly revealed text messages, revealed publicly in a court filing in a separate civil suit this week, shed light on how $6.1 million meant for the poorest families in the poorest state wound up going to Favre and a pet project at his alma mater instead.

The civil suit is part of the State of Mississippi’s efforts to recover tens of millions in misspent funds from dozens of players, including Favre, New and MCEC, her nonprofit.

A ‘Very Big Deal’
In a filing seeking to compel ex-Gov. Bryant to turn over information about the volleyball stadium scheme that went public on Monday, Sept. 12, MCEC noted that the State’s lawsuit claims the organization “paid Favre $1,100,000 simply for the ‘purpose of enriching’ him.”

“The evidence, however, shows that MCEC paid Favre $1,100,000 expressly to provide Favre with additional funds to use for construction of the Volleyball Facility,” the New-founded nonprofit group’s filing says..."


Telstar likes this post



And it's not just Mississippi:

Feds: 48 charged in 'brazen' $250M COVID spending fraud centered in Minnesota

MPR News Staff and Matt Sepic St. Paul September 20, 2022 12:00 PM

Updated 10:00 p.m.
Federal authorities on Tuesday charged 48 people in what they described as the country’s largest COVID-19 funding scam, alleging an elaborate Minnesota-based operation stole at least $250 million in federal funds meant to feed needy children but that went instead to buy cars, luxury goods, jewelry and property in the United States, Kenya and Turkey.

The alleged scheme was centered around Feeding Our Future, a Minnesota nonprofit that prosecutors say was a conduit for illegal payments and whose leaders received kickbacks. Charges include conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery.

“These individuals believed they could steal tens of millions of dollars from federal nutrition programs,” U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger told reporters. “Their goal was to make as much money for themselves as they could while falsely claiming to feed children in the pandemic.”

He called it a “brazen scheme of staggering proportions” that faked some 125 million meals.

A man points to a screen showing evidence
U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew Luger (center) shows off photos of falsified meal cards that were used to claim thousands of children were participating in the program. Ben Hovland | MPR News

Luger said the work involved creating false rosters of children, sometimes with the use of an online website that generated random names. Entities around the state would then be paid for meals they never served to children who didn’t exist.

In some cases, he said, groups were claiming to feed children in numbers beyond belief.

In the west-central Minnesota town of Willmar, for instance, a newly created organization claimed to be feeding 2,000 children daily — about half of all the eligible children in Willmar schools. Yet only about 1 percent of the children listed as served matched actual students, Luger said.

Feeding Our Future executive director Aimee Bock, he added, was at the center of the alleged scam, which was uncovered by the Minnesota Department of Education, the state agency that oversees federal child nutrition spending.

After MDE began denying Feeding Our Future site applications, Bock filed a lawsuit accusing the agency of discrimination.

A screen notes the list of organizations and individuals involved in the Feeding Our Future fraud criminal case.Ben Hovland | MPR News

The indictments charge Bock with “overseeing a massive fraud scheme” carried out across more than 200 Minnesota sites under Feeding Our Future’s sponsorship. “Feeding Our Future went from receiving and disbursing approximately $3.4 million in federal funds in 2019 to nearly $200 million in 2021,” the Justice Department said.

Bock later pleaded not guilty to the charges against her and was not ordered detained.

In a statement, Bock's attorney Kenneth Udoibok said: "An indictment does not signify guilty or innocence. It’s the beginning of the criminal process. I’m surprised that Ms. Bock has been indicted because she did nothing worthy of a criminal indictment."

Feeding Our Future shut down in February after search warrants became public and gave light to the investigation.

Luger said three of the people charged in the indictments announced Tuesday are expected to plead guilty. The U.S. Attorney’s office announced 47 indictments, but then confirmed a 48th person was charged late Tuesday.

Overall, authorities have seized about $50 million in assets related to the alleged crimes, including property, bank accounts, vehicles, jewelry and other items, Luger noted, adding that “we expect that number to grow.”

The online publication Sahan Journal reported that some of the people charged in the alleged scam have notable political and business connections, including Abdi Salah, former senior policy aide to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and Sharmarke Issa, former board chair of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.


Telstar and zsomething like this post



I guess the Grinch moved from Whoville to Minnesota. elephant santa

zsomething likes this post

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