Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre received $1.1 million in federal welfare funds from a nonprofit group for speeches he never gave, according a Mississippi state auditor.
Favre’s involvement was a part of an alleged multi-million dollar welfare fraud scheme. The 104-page audit said Mississippi’s Department of Human Services handed out $94 million in “questioned” spending of federal money intended to help people in need.
The audit says that Favre’s company, Favre Enterprises, was paid $500,000 in December 2017 and $600,000 in June 2018 by the Mississippi Community Education Center, a group that had contracts with the Department of Human Services to spend money through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
“Favre Enterprises was contracted to appear at several events, record promotions, and provide autographs for marketing materials from July 1, 2017 through July 31, 2018,” the audit said, adding that contracts showed Favre was to hold three speaking engagements, a radio spot and a keynote address.
But auditors found that “upon a cursory review of those dates, auditors were able to determine that the individual contracted did not speak nor was he present for those events.”
State Auditor Shad White said the Human Services audit “shows the most egregious misspending my staff have seen in their careers.”
Former pro wrestler “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and his sons, Ted DiBiase Jr. and Brett DiBiase, also received welfare money — “some of it for work never performed, some for ‘unreasonable’ travel costs,” the Jackson Clarion Ledger reported. In February, Brett DiBiase, a former deputy administrator for the Mississippi Department of Human Services, was indicted for embezzling funds, allegedly to pay for his own luxury drug rehab in Malibu, California.
Favre does not currently face criminal charges, according to the Jackson Clarion Ledger. The audit report lists the payments to him as “questioned” costs, which White said means “auditors either saw clear misspending or could not verify the money had been lawfully spent.”
It’s unknown how directly involved in the scheme the quarterback was or whether he broke any state or federal laws with his involvement. Favre’s agent, Bus Cook, did not respond to requests for comment from the Jackson Clarion Ledger or the Associated Press.
Favre is a hero in his home state of Mississippi, where he lives today and where he starred at the college level at Southern Miss.
He played 20 seasons in the NFL for four teams, but is best remembered for his years with the Green Bay Packers. Favre won Super Bowl XXXI, earned three consecutive league MVPs from 1995 to 1997 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
This story is based in part on wire service reports.