State Auditor: Former DHS director, five others arrested in largest public embezzlement case in state history

They allegedly conspired to illegally obtain millions in public funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program administered by DHS, according to the State Auditor’s Office.

Posted: Feb 5, 2020 6:30 PM
Updated: Feb 21, 2020 10:22 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) - Special agents with the State Auditor’s Office arrested six people, including the former director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, in connection with a multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme.

The arrestees are:

(Top L-R): Davis, N. New, DiBiase | (Bottom L-R): Smith, McGrew, Z. New

  • John Davis, the former director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services (DHS)
  • Latimer Smith, former DHS employee
  • Dr. Nancy New, owner and director of the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) and New Learning, Inc.
  • Zach New, assistant executive director of MCEC
  • Anne McGrew, accountant for MCEC
  • Brett DiBiase, the son of former professional wrestler Ted DiBiase

They allegedly conspired to illegally obtain millions in public funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program administered by DHS.

They used a variety of business entities and schemes to defraud taxpayers, according to the State Auditor’s Office. 

The total amount of money has not been determined, according to the State Auditor’s Office, but the amount will be a record for the state office.

The following paragraphs are from the Auditor Office's Wednesday press release.

"Davis and Smith stand accused of fraudulently manufacturing documents to enrich Brett DiBiase using TANF money. Davis and Smith created invoices to pay DiBiase TANF funds for teaching classes about drug abuse, but DiBiase was in a luxury rehabilitation facility for his own drug use in California at the time and did not perform the services. Davis and Smith created documents and arranged payment knowing DiBiase was not performing the work he was hired to perform.

Nancy New and her son, Zach New, stand accused of using the News’ non-profit, MCEC, to pay for DiBiase’s drug treatment using TANF funds. At Davis’ direction, MCEC used TANF money received from DHS to pay for DiBiase’s opioid treatment at the Rise in Malibu facility. The documentation submitted by the News claimed this was to pay DiBiase for conducting training classes that never, in fact, took place.

The News also stand accused of transferring millions in TANF funds to their private businesses. They then converted funds to their personal use and concealed the conversion through various fund transfers, fraudulent documents, at least one forged signature, and deceptive accounting measures.

Finally, Davis and the News are accused of creating a fraud scheme to take TANF funds to pay for personal investments in medical device companies (Prevacus, Inc., and PreSolMD, LLC) in Florida."

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