Former WWE wrestler, Ted DiBiase Jr., faces multiple felony charges in a welfare fraud scandal that surfaced in Mississippi, as reported by Ken Dilanian of NBC News. The wrestling star and former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre are caught up in the scandal.
Last year, Erica Hunzinger of the Associated Press exposed the misappropriation of millions of dollars intended to aid impoverished families in Mississippi. Among the high-profile names connected to this welfare scandal, DiBiase and Favre were allegedly implicated in improperly receiving funds.
Favre, however, has not been charged with any crime. Ted DiBiase Jr., his father, WWE Hall of Famer Ted Sr. (known as the Million Dollar Man), and brother Brett reportedly received millions of dollars through their businesses in return for services that were never rendered.
The elder DiBiase's organization, Heart of David Ministries, is said to have received $1.7 million in welfare money for purported "leadership training" that never took place. Additionally, $250,000 was allegedly paid to DiBiase Development Inc.
for motivational speaking engagements. As a result of a civil lawsuit, DiBiase was ordered to repay $722,000. He has denied these allegations and sought the dismissal of the civil suit.
DiBiase Jr. Accused of Fund Misuse
is accused of receiving over $3 million in federal anti-poverty funds through Priceless Ventures and Familiae Orientem for leadership training and support to inner-city youth. However, the services were reportedly never provided.
Brett Favre allegedly received $1.1 million from the Mississippi Department of Human Services via the Mississippi Education Center for unfulfilled speaking engagements. Favre was said to have intended to use the funds for a new $5 million volleyball facility at Southern Mississippi University, where his daughter played the sport.
Although Favre returned the money, there was still $228,000 in outstanding interest as of October 2022, according to Hunzinger. John Davis, former head of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, theft, and fraud in September 2022.
He agreed to testify against others involved in the scandal. Davis allegedly appointed DiBiase Jr. as director of sustainable change for the Mississippi Department of Human Services, despite DiBiase not being a state employee.
Ted DiBiase Jr. began his professional wrestling career in 2006, following in his father's footsteps. By 2008, he debuted on WWE's main roster, joining the Legacy stable with Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes. DiBiase Jr. stayed with WWE until 2013, winning the world tag team championship twice during his tenure.
Now 40 years old, DiBiase made occasional appearances at independent wrestling events between 2013 and 2017 but has retired from full-time wrestling since leaving WWE.