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With each passing day, more and more details are emerging about Brett Favre allegedly misappropriating funds as part of the Mississippi welfare fraud investigation — and it went to a whole new level on Wednesday night.

A ranging report by The Athletic details a fresh round of potential financial fraud by the quarterback, this time using his own non-profit organization “Favre 4 Hope” as a way to funnel money from donors to the University of Southern Mississippi athletic department. Tax records for Favre 4 Hope show over $130,000 being given to the school over three years, while also failing to give any charity organization more than $10,000 over the same period.

The mission statement of Favre 4 Hope indicates specifically that funds are donated to “provide services to underserved and disabled children in Mississippi and Wisconsin,” adding that in 2005 it extended its goal to also give money to breast cancer patients. The charity’s website is extremely misleading, showing notable listed charities on their “partners” page, which would lead donors to believe their funds were going to good causes — when in reality a lion’s share was given to the Southern Miss athletic department.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This latest example of funds being funneled to Favre’s alma mater is significant, because it’s also at the heart of the Mississippi welfare scheme. Funds were taken from the department of health and human services and given to Southern Miss to build a new volleyball court in 2017, a team which Favre’s daughter played on. Subsequent evidence showed that in 2019 Favre sought more funds, this time in an effort to court quarterback Shedeur Sanders (son of Deion Sanders) to commit to Southern Miss.

The Athletic report also notes that the scope of Favre 4 Hope’s charitable giving has shrunk significantly in recent years. In the mid 2000s the organization donated to over 40 different charities, but that number reduced to 14 total in 2019, with the majority of funds being given (or funneled) to Southern Miss.

A total of $60,000 was given to the Oak Grove Booster Club in 2015, when Favre’s daughter was a high school volleyball player seeking to play for the university, with an additional $12,500 going directly from Favre 4 Hope to the school’s athletic department. This prior to the over $5M which went from Nancy New’s “Mississippi Community Education Center” non-profit, which took welfare funds and gave them to the university. New has since pled guilty to her role in the welfare scheme, and is working with prosecutors.

There is a chance Favre could face further investigation for his charity’s donations to Southern Miss.

“You can’t say you’re raising money for one purpose and then spend it on something totally different. Charities have an ethical obligation, and in some cases a legal obligation, to fulfill the intentions of its donors in the way funds are spent,” said Laurie Styron, executive director of CharityWatch.

It’s difficult to ascertain what the University knew about the funds it was receiving, largely because the school has declined from answering requests for comment from the media — and at this time have not been asked to speak to prosectors. However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Southern Miss is pivotal to Favre’s role in the welfare scheme.

Favre has maintained innocence. When details of the welfare scheme first emerged he acknowledged receiving funds from the state for speeches he never gave, but returned the money and said that was the extent of his involvement. It’s becoming increasingly clear that was a lie. As more details emerge Favre has been shown to be a key player in arranging meetings between government officials and New, as well as exchanging text messages with former governor Phil Bryant about donations to Souther Miss. In addition, Favre was pivotal in securing investments in “Prevacus,” a concussion drug which Favre supported, and was sold to Odyssey Health when investigation into the welfare scheme began. Until recently Favre was listed as part of Odyssey Health’s “sports advisory board,” but has since been removed from the company’s website.

At this time Favre has not been charged by state of federal investigators, but that doesn’t mean he’s free and clear. Recently John Davis, the former director of health and human services in Mississippi also pled guilty to his role in the scheme, and is participating with prosecutors as well as New, who handled the non-profit side of the fund misappropriation. Favre and former governor Bryant have been named multiple times in court documents, which seemingly indicates their are people of interest as the case continues to unfold.

As this process continues more and more examples of Favre misusing funds for his own gain become apparent. It seems this process is only just getting started.

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