Mississippi continues to seek recovery of nearly one-third of $77 million in federal welfare money from 38 people or companies. Brett Favre remains at the center of the investigation. Even though he was not charged with any crime, state auditors think that texts and other documents show that he was involved in funneling money to a volleyball wellness center at his alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).
Questions linger about whether Favre knew the origin of the funds
The allegations against Favre stem from his knowing that a $5 million grant for the volleyball facility came through a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare fund though a non-profit. The non-profit received a Block Grant from the Mississippi Department of Human Services in October 2017. TANF requirements prevented construction of “brick and mortar” projects and also low-income individuals to use the fund. Mississippi state law does not allow fraud in connection with a state or federally assisted program.
Favre claims that he has no knowledge that funds designated for welfare recipients went to USM. There is no documentation that supports that he knew where the money came from but text messages prove that he understood that it came from the Mississippi Department of Human Services. Specifically, Favre received $1.1 million for fundraising that he gave to USM for the volleyball center. He returned the principle when he discovered the welfare funds. The state’s suit seeks to recover the interest.
Understanding fraud in Mississippi
An old adage reminds people to “Follow the money.” Whether complex funding arrangements by the government or simple transactions, welfare fraud requires specific facts and intent. An attorney with experience and knowledge of the law can offer guidance.