If the new Republican House majority wants to focus on fraud, start by looking at poverty programs.

Posted BY: | NwoReport

Three years ago, my office, the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor, learned through a whistleblower tip that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds may have been misspent by the Mississippi agency handling that money. Several months later and after an investigation by my team, we revealed the startling truth: Tens of millions of welfare dollars had been embezzled.

TANF funds were used in Mississippi to pay for drug treatment at a luxury Malibu resort for the friend of the head of the agency dispersing the funds. It paid for an investment in an experimental concussion drug company. It financed religious concerts with no proof they were attended by the needy, nice cars for the heads of an influential local nonprofit — along with paying off a speeding ticket for one of them — and excessive rent for property owned by the people handing out the money.

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And of course, national outlets from ESPN to the late-night comics picked up on our discovery that Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre was paid $1.1 million on a contract requiring him to give speeches he never gave. He also successfully lobbied for $5 million in welfare funds to be spent on a volleyball court at his alma mater where his daughter played.

All told, this was the largest public fraud in state history. Local and federal prosecutors took our findings and indicted six of the culprits. We arrested them, and five have pleaded guilty. The FBI continues to investigate the case, working with our entire case file and my team to get to the bottom of everything.

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