Former WWE wrestler Theodore Marvin DiBiase Jr. charged in Mississippi welfare scandal
Former WWE wrester Theodore Marvin DiBiase Jr., son of wrestling legend Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase Sr., has been charged with using millions of dollars intended to help needy families in Mississippi to buy himself a boat, a vehicle and a house, according to a newly unsealed federal indictment.
Prosecutors charged the 40-year-old DiBiase Jr. with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, as well as multiple counts of wire fraud, theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, and four counts of money laundering, prosecutors said.
DiBiase Jr. and others allegedly used federal funds from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program “for their own personal use and benefit,” according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors allege that after federal funds were issued to the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), former executive director John Davis directed MDHS to subgrant the funds to the nonprofit organizations Family Resource Center of North Mississippi Inc. (FRC), operated by Christi Webb, and Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC), run by Nancy New.
Davis then allegedly directed Webb and New to “award sham contracts to various individuals and entities purportedly for the delivery of social services, including at least five sham contracts that were awarded to DiBiase Jr.’s companies, Priceless Ventures LLC and Familiae Orientem LLC,” prosecutors said.
DiBiase Jr. allegedly used these federal funds to purchase himself a vehicle and a boat, and to put a down payment for a house, among other things, according to prosecutors.
If convicted, DiBiase Jr. faces up to five years in prison for the conspiracy count, up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, and up to 10 years in prison for each count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and for each count of money laundering, prosecutors said.
The indictment is the latest update in the Mississippi welfare scandal that invovles retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre.
In February, Favre filed lawsuits accusing the state auditor and two sportscasters of defaming him in public discussions about the scandal.
Favre is not facing criminal charges in the Mississippi welfare scandal, but he is among more than three dozen people or businesses the state is suing to try to recover misspent money through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.