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Former director of Mississippi’s welfare company pleads responsible in fraud case


A former director of Mississippi’s welfare company pleaded responsible Thursday to new federal fees in a conspiracy to misspend tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} that have been supposed to assist needy households in one of many poorest states within the U.S. — a part of the most important public corruption case within the state’s historical past.

John Davis appeared in federal court docket to plead responsible to at least one depend of conspiracy and one depend of fraud in opposition to the federal government. Throughout the listening to, U.S. District Choose Carlton Reeves requested a number of questions on whether or not Davis understood the costs to which he was pleading responsible.

“Sure, sir,” Davis responded every time.

Reeves set sentencing for Feb. 2. Davis stays free on bond, and the decide mentioned he hopes Davis makes higher choices any longer.

“I stay up for hoping that this portion of your life is behind you,” Reeves mentioned.

Davis was indicted on state fees in February 2020. He was re-indicted this spring on state fees that he participated in misusing welfare cash, together with utilizing some to ship a former professional wrestler to a luxurious drug rehab facility.

The state fees are being dropped in alternate for Davis agreeing to plead responsible to federal fees and to testify in opposition to others within the case, in response to a state court docket settlement filed Wednesday. The state court docket doc mentioned Davis had agreed to plead responsible to 5 counts of conspiracy and 13 counts of fraud in federal court docket, however he pleaded responsible to at least one depend of every. Attorneys in federal court docket didn’t point out a number of fees or clarify the contents of the state court docket doc.

The federal fees have been handed down Sept. 15, however remained sealed till Wednesday. Federal court docket information present Davis appeared earlier than a Justice of the Peace decide Wednesday, and that Davis waived indictment and agreed to be prosecuted beneath the federal fees.

Davis was government director of the Mississippi Division of Human Companies from February 2016 by way of July 2019. He was appointed to the job by then-Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican.

The federal fees say Davis conspired with 4 different folks, who should not named. Courtroom paperwork describe two of the alleged conspirators as government administrators of organizations, one because the proprietor of two corporations and one solely as a resident of Hinds County, Mississippi. The capital metropolis of Jackson is in Hinds County.

The conspiracy fees say one of many organizations paid almost $498,000 to one of many corporations in June 2018. A number of days later, that firm entered a $1.1 million contract with the opposite firm “purportedly in alternate for making a program to serve inner-city youth.” The fees additionally say the identical group paid $700,000 that summer season to the corporate with the youth program contract.

The theft fees say Davis misused federal grants of greater than $10,000.

The conspiracy cost is punishable by as much as 5 years in jail and a $250,000 high-quality, and the theft cost carries as much as 10 years in jail and a $250,000 high-quality.

In April, a mom and son who ran a nonprofit group and an schooling firm pleaded responsible to state fees of misusing welfare cash, together with on lavish items similar to first-class airfare for Davis. Nancy New and Zachary New agreed to testify in opposition to others.

In a state court docket submitting Sept. 12, an legal professional for one of many Information’ organizations listed textual content messages between retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre and Nancy New, between Favre and Bryant and between Bryant and New.

The messages confirmed discussions about hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in welfare cash being directed to a pet venture of Favre — a volleyball facility being constructed on the College of Southern Mississippi. Favre, Bryant and New all attended the college, and Favre’s daughter began enjoying volleyball there in 2017. Favre and Bryant haven’t been charged within the welfare misspending case.



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