Federal sentencing delayed in Mississippi welfare fraud case

A federal decide signed an get Friday to indefinitely hold off sentencing of a former Mississippi welfare director in a situation about misspending income that was supposed to assist needy people in one particular of the poorest states in the U.S.

John Davis pleaded responsible to federal and state charges in September and agreed to testify in opposition to others in Mississippi’s premier public corruption scenario. His sentencing at first was established for Feb. 2.

The U.S. attorney’s business office for southern Mississippi submitted papers Jan. 20 to request a delay, creating that “sentencing in this situation will be advanced.” U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves accredited the ask for Friday to hold off sentencing “until a day convenient to all parties.”

Davis was executive director of the Mississippi Office of Human Providers from February 2016 as a result of July 2019. He was appointed by then-Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican.

Davis was an influential determine in a scandal that has snared various persons, such as professional wrestler Ted DiBiase, acknowledged as the “million greenback man,” whose Christian ministry was ordered to repay more than $720,000 in misspent welfare revenue.

The scandal also has lifted queries about Bryant and retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre, although neither of them has faced legal rates. The point out is suing Favre in a civil situation that seeks to recuperate misspent welfare revenue. Davis had direct command of federal welfare income that was channeled to pet jobs such as a new volleyball arena at the college wherever Favre’s daughter played the sport.

On Sept. 22, Davis pleaded responsible to just one rely of conspiracy and one particular depend of theft from applications obtaining federal resources. He faces up to 15 several years in prison.

The federal expenses say Davis conspired with 4 other people today, who had been not named. Courtroom documents described two of the alleged conspirators as government directors of businesses, one as the operator of two corporations and a person only as a resident of Hinds County, Mississippi.

The rates say 1 group compensated almost $498,000 to a person of the firms in June 2018. A handful of times later on, that firm entered a $1.1 million agreement with the other firm “purportedly in exchange for creating a software to serve inner-town youth.” The costs also say the very same business paid $700,000 that summertime to the enterprise with the youth program contract.

The federal theft rates say Davis misused federal grants of additional than $10,000.

Several hours following pleading responsible in federal court, Davis appeared in condition courtroom and pleaded responsible to 5 counts of conspiracy and 13 counts of fraud versus the federal government. Hinds County Circuit Choose Adrienne Wooten gave Davis a 90-12 months sentence with 58 of people suspended and 32 to provide. She set him on residence arrest right up until his federal sentencing.

The state courtroom prices were mainly tied to welfare cash used on one of Ted DiBiase’s sons, Brett DiBiase, who was also a pro wrestler. The paying integrated $160,000 for drug rehabilitation for Brett DiBiase in Malibu, California, and additional than $1,000 for first-class airfare for Davis to vacation to Malibu to see him.