The former executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services pleaded guilty Thursday to misusing federal funds by steering finances away from programs intended to aid needy families and instead helping officials and associates line their own pockets. The charges against John Davis, 54, included theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud; as part of his plea deal he has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in cases against other potential defendants. The scheme redirected $77 million away from welfare programs and allegedly drew in the likes of former Gov. Phil Bryant and NFL quarterback Brett Favre, who lobbied for a chunk to be funneled toward a volleyball stadium for the University of Southern Mississippi, where his daughter played. Favre is not facing charges and has maintained he didn’t know where the money came from—but texts uncovered by Mississippi Free Press this month suggested otherwise. Davis faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced in Feb. 2023.
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