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The Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services discusses findings in forensic audit

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 9:54 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A forensic audit for the Mississippi Department of Human Services is severely critical of the work of former Executive Director John Davis. Some of it paints Davis as the mastermind who treated taxpayer money as if it was his own. In an exclusive 3 On Your Side Interview with current Executive Director Bob Anderson, we learned more about the money meant for needy families and how those funds were misspent and misused.

Since becoming Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Bob Anderson has made it clear his intent was to track down any fraud, waste, or abuse of taxpayer money, especially funds meant for TANF or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

A forensic audit ordered by Anderson paints a grim and disturbing picture of how former Executive Director John Davis ran the agency.

Anderson said, “you know when you see an Executive Director of a state agency and a deputy travel in first-class — I mean really. I mean, we understand this is the people’s business that we’re doing, and to the extent that we can be prudent and good stewards of that trust, we should be. You know there was some other travel during the time that Brett DiBiase was in Malibu receiving treatment. This agency through MCEC apparently paid for his wife to fly out first class.”

Six people were indicted in February of 2020, including Davis. Brett DiBiase pleaded guilty to defrauding the state of $48,000 last December. His brother, Ted DiBiase, is one of 21 parties of interest listed in the forensic audit. Anderson says Ted DiBiase and Davis formed Law of 16/Priceless Ventures, which is included on the parties of interest list.

The list of Parties of Interest is part of the forensic audit. Anderson says some made the list...
The list of Parties of Interest is part of the forensic audit. Anderson says some made the list because they received TANF funds.(MDHS Forensic Audit)

“My concern about all of this is whether we will — the state will see any of the money that was shared with them. That’s my biggest concern because what happens is if we can’t recoup that money even from the folks who unwittingly got TANF money that was not appropriately awarded to them and not used for proper purposes under TANF guidelines, the state’s gonna be responsible for making that, you know, making the program whole and that’s state general fund dollars that will have to be repaid to the federal authorities,” Anderson said.

Anderson says the forensic audit has been given to federal authorities locally and in Washington, D.C.

Anderson said, ‘I would be surprised if there are not additional indictments.”

Anderson did tell us some of the parties of interest were listed because they received TANF funds.

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