By: Anna Wolfe
The former Mississippi Director of Human Services and nonprofit officials conspired to embezzle millions of dollars meant for services to poor Mississippians, according to a Wednesday release from the office of the state auditor.
Special agents arrested John Davis, the former Human Services director, along with his employee, Latimer Smith.
Nancy New, Zach New, Anne McGrew — all officials from the nonprofit Mississippi Community Education Center — as well as retired professional wrestler Brett DiBiase were also arrested in connection with the scheme uncovered during an eight-month investigation. Indictments include charges of fraud and embezzlement.
“The funds that were illegally obtained in this case were intended to help the poorest among us. The funds were instead taken by a group of influential people for their own benefit, and the scheme is massive. It ends today,” said State Auditor Shad White.
A human services department media release Wednesday evening stated that the agency self-reported the information that prompted the investigation to Gov. Phil Bryant in June 2019. The department of human services announced Davis’ retirement in early July of that year.
“We look forward to this moving through the justice system to a final disposition,” the agency’s release stated.
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