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Brett Favre repays $600,000 in Mississippi welfare fraud case, but he still owes more

The Mississippi state auditor has demanded that Brett Favre pay interest on money he received from a fund intended to benefit needy families. Favre has repaid the $1.1 million he initially received for work he did not do. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Brett Favre repaid $600,000 in payments he received from a fund created to help needy Mississippi residents for speeches he did not give, but he still owes interest on the sum, the state’s auditor announced Wednesday.

Mississippi Auditor Shad White said the Pro Football Hall of Famer had paid the $600,000 this week but could be sued by the state attorney general if he does not pay the interest. A state audit revealed in May 2020 that Favre had received $1.1 million for speaking engagements for which he did not appear. White said then that Favre had repaid $500,000 of that money to the state, with the remainder to come “in installments over the next few months.”

White demanded payment of $828,000 — the remaining $600,000 plus $228,000 in interest — from the former quarterback in an Oct. 12 letter. “If he does not pay that [$228,000] within 30 days of our demand,” the letter stated, “the AG will be responsible for enforcing the payment of the interest in court.”

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Although Favre faces no criminal liability, five people, including the state’s former Department of Human Services director, John Davis, have been charged in one of Mississippi’s largest embezzlement cases.

Favre, who grew up in and lives in the state, had received the money for multiple no-show speeches and had been paid by the Mississippi Community Education Center, a nonprofit group whose former leader is among those charged.

Last year, Favre said he had “received monies for obligations I didn’t meet” and, in adding that he had begun repayment, tweeted, “I love Mississippi and I would never knowingly do anything to take away from those that need it most.”

White’s Oct. 12 letter also demanded payment of $96 million in misspent welfare money and interest, a figure that included the Favre totals. A Maryland-based accounting firm had recently completed an independent report into how the Mississippi Department of Human Services spent federal money from 2016 through 2019 through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Former professional wrestler Ted DiBiase and his sons were also among the people White said owe money. DiBiase’s Heart of David Ministries owes $722,299, while Ted DiBiase Jr. owes $3.903 million. Brett DiBiase, who was paid for teaching classes about drug abuse that the audit found were never held, owes $225,950. Last year, Brett DiBiase pleaded guilty to a lesser state charge of making a false statement in exchange for testimony against his alleged co-conspirators. He agreed to pay $48,000 in restitution, and his sentencing was deferred.

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