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MDHS continues criminal investigation into misspent TANF funds

Former U.S. Attorney Brad Piggot is assisting with the investigation
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 10:56 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - New information into the largest embezzlement and fraud case in state history involving misspent TANF money - funds meant to help needy families in Mississippi.

The investigation could include names not already released in civil complaints issued this week by State Auditor Shad White.

Davis received a civil demand for more than 96 million dollars from the State Auditor's office.
Davis received a civil demand for more than 96 million dollars from the State Auditor's office.(WLBT)

Mississippi Department of Human Services Executive Director Bob Anderson says though the State Auditor issued civil demands to eleven individuals and groups earlier this week, the agency will continue working with former U.S. Attorney Brad Piggot on the criminal investigation.

DHS hired a firm to conduct a forensic audit to detail how millions of dollars meant to help the poor in Mississippi were misused under former Executive Director John Davis.

Civil demands issued by the State Auditor include Davis and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.

Among the 11 who received civil complaints, former MDHS Executive John Davis, and NFL Hall of...
Among the 11 who received civil complaints, former MDHS Executive John Davis, and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.(WLBT)

Thursday afternoon, in part of a statement, Anderson says quote, ”We are confident that as this process moves forward, any entity including those not named in the civil complaints will be identified and held accountable.”

Anderson tells us it is ultimately going to be the discretion of the feds to determine who is culpable in this case.

Anderson said, “Our counsel, Mr. Piggot, has already been reaching out to a number of them inviting them to come sit down and talk with us and tell their side of the story. Some have agreed to, some have not. Just as in the forensic audit you saw the auditors reached out to a number of people. A few agreed to talk with them, quite a few just never responded.”

Anderson says MDHS will hold all appropriate parties accountable for fraud, waste, and abuse related to the federal block grant money.

Six people including John Davis, have been indicted on state charges in the case.

Nancy and Zach New are among six people who were indicted on state charges in the case.
Nancy and Zach New are among six people who were indicted on state charges in the case.(WLBT)

This is Anderson’s full statement:

“At this time, MDHS has no plans to change our engagement with Mr. Piggot in assisting with the continued investigation of the misuse of TANF funds. Mr. Piggot will be focused on the evidentiary elements related to the case. Our goal is to not only recoup these funds, but to hold all appropriate parties accountable for fraud, waste, and abuse related to the federal block grant because ultimately the state of Mississippi will be held accountable for these misused funds in the amount that U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) determines was misused.

We are confident that as this process moves forward, any entity (including those not named in the civil complaints), will be identified and held accountable. It is ultimately going to be the discretion of the feds to determine who is culpable in this case.”

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