WWE Hall of Famer Ted DiBiase and his sons are among 38 parties being sued by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) as it seeks to recover millions of dollars lost in the largest case of welfare fraud in that state’s history.
The misspent TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) funds were detailed in a forensic audit. It says the MDHS, and two non-profits, the Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) and the Family Resource Center (FRC), wrongly paid $5,759,371.83 to members of the DiBiase family, for the benefit of a DiBiase family member, or to entities owned or used by a DiBiase family member.
The audit covers the period from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2019. John Davis was the Executive Director of MDHS at the time. The audit found a very close relationship between Davis and the DiBiase family. It alleges Davis displayed favoritism to certain individuals and companies and exerted “undue favor and influence” in regards to the payments involving members of the DiBiase family. Davis has been indicted on 20 counts in the case.
The DiBiase name appears more than 250 times in the audit. TANF funds were paid individually to Ted DiBiase, Ted DiBiase Jr., and Brett DiBiase. Funds related to the DiBiase family were also paid to Heart of David Ministries, Priceless Ventures LLC, Familiae Orientem, Restore2 LLC, and Rise Malibu Training.
Ted DiBiase Sr. formed Heart of David Ministries in 1997. According to the audit, Heart of David received a $1.5 million grant from MDHS despite the fact that Heart of David’s revenue prior to receiving funding was less than $200,000.
Ted DiBiase Jr. was the manager of the now-dissolved Priceless Ventures LLC. The audit states it was incorporated in May 2017, less than one month before the first agreement leading to a series of payments that totaled more than $2 million. Auditors believe the organization was established for the sole purpose of pursuing the agreement with FRC.
The audit states that Ted DiBiase Jr. also received $250,000 in August 2017. However, the audit says no contract or supporting documentation was provided for the payment.
MDHS representatives told auditors that Ted DiBiase Jr. occupied one of the largest offices in MDHS, which was located next to John Davis’ office. The audit said it’s not clear why DiBiase Jr. was occupying office space at MDHS.
Ted DiBiase Jr. was listed as a member of Familiae Orientem LLC. The audit says it was established in the State of Wyoming on June 25, 2018, which was the effective date of another agreement with FRC.
The audit says Brett DiBiase was employed by MDHS from September 2017 to July 2019 and received payroll and benefits totaling more than $486,000. His company, Restore2, LLC, was paid $48,000 by MDHS for training on opioid and substance addiction. However, the audit states that the training never actually happened. A total of $160,000 was paid to Rise Malibu, described in the audit as a luxury rehabilitation facility in Malibu, California, for the benefit of Brett DiBiase.
In addition, Ted DiBiase Jr. and Brett DiBiase were reimbursed for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for first-class travel, high-end hotels, and expensive meals, according to the audit.
Brett DiBiase plead guilty in December 2020 to a charge of making fraudulent statements in the case.
Ted DiBiase Jr. and Brett DiBiase were ordered last October to repay misspent funds to the state of Mississippi. Ted DiBiase Jr. was ordered to pay back $3.9 million. Brett DiBiase was ordered to repay $225,950.
Heart of David Ministries was ordered to repay $722.299.
— MDHS (@MS_DHS) May 9, 2022
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