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Ted DiBiase Jr., son of “Million...

Ted DiBiase Jr., son of “Million Dollar Man,” charged with conspiracy to misappropriate millions in welfare funds

By: Anne Summerhays - April 21, 2023
Ted DiBiase Jr.

Ted DiBiase Jr. (Photo from DiBiase's Facebook page)

The federal indictment charging the former pro wrestler in the Mississippi welfare case was unsealed on Thursday. He pleaded not guilty.

On Thursday, a federal indictment was unsealed in Mississippi, charging Theodore “Ted” DiBiase Jr. with 13 counts of conspiracy, theft, money laundering and wire fraud related to millions of dollars in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds that prosecutors say were misappropriated in the state.

DiBiase, Jr., a former professional wrestler, along with co-conspirators John Davis, Nancy New, Zach New, and others, allegedly received and misappropriated federal funds from TANF and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). The five others have pleaded guilty to the federal charges. However, DiBiase, Jr. has now pleaded not guilty.

In April 2022, Nancy New, former director of the Mississippi Community Education Center, pleaded guilty to multiple charges of bribery of a public official, fraud against the government, mail fraud, and racketeering in Judge Faye Peterson’s courtroom. Zach New also pleaded guilty to multiple charges of bribery of a public official, fraud against the government, and mail fraud. 

In September 2022, John Davis, who served as Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), pleaded guilty to 5 counts of conspiracy and 13 counts of fraud against the government. Davis also pleaded guilty to one federal charge of conspiracy and one federal charge of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds.

During the alleged scheme, Davis, directed the Department to subgrant the funds to two nonprofit organizations, Family Resource Center of North Mississippi Inc. (FRC) and Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC), which were operated by Christi Webb and Nancy New, respectively.

“Davis then allegedly directed Webb and New to award sham contracts to various individuals and entities purportedly for the delivery of social services,” the Department of Justice’s indictment said. “As further alleged in the indictment, under these sham contracts, FRC and MCEC provided millions of dollars in federal funds from MDHS to DiBiase and his companies for social services that DiBiase did not provide and did not intend to provide. DiBiase allegedly used these federal funds to buy a vehicle and a boat, and for the down payment on the purchase of a house, among other expenditures.”

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, DiBiase 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.

The indictment alleges that DiBiase used the funds to purchase a vehicle and a boat, as well as to put a down payment on a home in Madison.

If convicted, the Department said, DiBiase faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy count, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and for each count of money laundering.

State Auditor Shad White, who began the investigation into the MDHS welfare case following a tip from former Governor Phil Bryant, said prosecutors decide whom to charge with a crime. He said his office is grateful to see them continuing to advance this case.

“We will continue to support their efforts with the evidence that our investigators and federal investigators have uncovered,” Auditor White continued.

The FBI, HHS-OIG, USDA-OIG, and IRS-CI continue to investigate the case. The DOJ noted that an indictment is merely an allegation and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

DiBiase, along with other persons and entities, are also facing civil action brought by MDHS in an attempt recover the funds.

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: