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Former wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr. charged in welfare fraud case

It's the latest development in a scandalous corruption case involving several prominent individuals and the Mississippi Dept. of Human Services.
Former wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr. charged in welfare fraud case
Posted at 2:49 PM, Apr 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-21 14:49:23-04

Former professional wrestling star Ted "Teddy" DiBiase Jr. has been charged for the theft of millions of dollars in federal funding intended for needy families in Mississippi.

The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, is the latest development in a massive fraud case involving several prominent individuals and Mississippi's Department of Human Services (MDHS).

According to the Department of Justice, DiBiase Jr. worked with numerous co-conspirators, including MDHS director John Davis, to fraudulently obtain federal funds from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

As part of the alleged scheme, Davis disbursed federal funds to two nonprofit organizations, Family Resource Center of North Mississippi Inc. and Mississippi Community Education Center. 

Davis then allegedly ordered the directors of those nonprofits — both of whom have pleaded guilty — to award millions of dollars in sham contracts to two of DiBiase's companies for social services they did not provide. Instead, DiBiase is accused of using the money to buy a new car, a boat, and for the down payment on a house, among other things.

Davis pleaded guilty last year to charges tied to the welfare scandal, including using $160,000 in federal funds to place DiBiase's brother in a drug rehabilitation program in Malibu, California.

The 40-year-old DiBiase Jr. is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, six counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, and four counts of money laundering.

If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison for the conspiracy count, up to 20 years for each wire fraud count, and a maximum of 10 years for each count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, and for each count of money laundering.

The scandalous case has also ensnared other prominent figures, including Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, who doesn't face criminal charges but is among dozens of defendants in a civil lawsuit filed by the MDHS in attempt to recoup some of the tens of millions of dollars that was wasted when Davis was in charge.

Teddy DiBiase Jr., his brother Brett DiBiase and their father, Ted DiBiase Sr. are also listed as defendants in the civil suit.

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