Financial Crime: Million-dollar son charged in million-dollar scam that also embroiled NFL legend Brett Favre

Federal prosecutors have leveled a legal drop kick on former pro wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr., charging him with stealing millions of dollars meant to feed needy kids in a Mississippi scandal that has also tarnished the reputation of NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre.

DiBiase, 40, of Madison, Mississippi, is the latest to be charged in what has emerged as the state’s largest corruption case in which tens of millions of dollars meant to feed kids was instead allegedly steered to sham companies who pocketed the cash.

Federal prosecutors say DiBiase, whose father was a star wrestler in the 1980s known as “The Million Dollar Man,” used money misappropriated from the program to buy a car and boat as well as make a down payment on a house.

The scandal hinges around the actions of the former head of Mississippi’s department of human services, John Davis, who pleaded guilty late last year to steering millions in federal welfare aid into sham contracts granted to outside agencies where it was misappropriated or spent on pet projects not related to what it was intended for. 

At least five of those sham contracts were given to two companies run by DiBiase, prosecutors said. He is charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, theft from programs receiving federal funds and money laundering. DiBiase faces decades behind bars if convicted. 

DiBiase’s lawyer, Scott Gilbert, said he felt the government’s case was misguided.

“Criminalizing what, in hindsight, may be fairly characterized as poor fiscal management by the executive branch of state government is a dangerous and worrisome precedent,” Gilbert said. “We are confident that when this process is finished, it will be clear that the government’s theory is misguided and that their allegations cannot be substantiated, as they pertain to Teddy DiBiase.”

DiBiase’s brother, Brett DiBiase, who was also once a pro wrestler, pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to defraud the government in connection to the case. Their father, Ted DiBiase Sr., has been named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit brought by the Mississippi department of human services seeking to claw back millions they allege had been stolen.

Favre, a native of Mississippi who led the Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl twice, was also named in the civil suit, alleging that he was paid for speaking engagements he never did and that some of the money was used to build a $5 million volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi where his daughter attended and played volleyball.

Both men have denied the allegations and have not been criminally charged.


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