Mississippi Supreme Court denies appeal from former NFL star Brett Favre to be removed from welfare fraud lawsuit

August 11, 2023
Ben Marquis

Former Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Brett Favre is one of dozens of named defendants in a massive civil lawsuit in Mississippi related to the fraudulent misspending of tens of millions in state funds between 2016-2019 that were supposed to help support needy families on welfare.

Favre had filed an appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court to have himself removed from that lawsuit but a three-judge panel of the state's high court denied that appeal on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

The retired star quarterback had asked the state Supreme Court to intervene and reverse the ruling of a lower state court judge in April who had denied his initial request to be removed from the civil lawsuit.

Favre received approximately $7 million in fraudulently diverted welfare funds

According to Mississippi Today, the civil lawsuit was initially filed by the Mississippi Department of Human Services in an effort to recover approximately $77 million from nearly four dozen defendants that had been fraudulently diverted from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program in the state.

Favre, who has not been accused of or charged with any wrongdoing, is nonetheless alleged to have been a recipient of slightly more than $7 million of the improperly spent welfare funds.

Per the AP, Favre gave approximately $5 million of the received funds to his alma mater, the University of Southern Miss, to construct a brand new state-of-the-art volleyball facility at the same time that his daughter was a volleyball player at the school.

He is also alleged to have invested around $1.7 million into a small pharmaceutical company he backed, Prevacus, that is working on a new drug to treat concussions. He further received roughly $1.1 million to give speeches and do promotional ads in support of an anti-poverty program but has since returned that portion of the money after doing just one ad.

Appeal for removal denied

In his request to be removed from the lawsuit, according to Mississippi Today, Favre's attorney argued that he shouldn't be held liable by the state for supposedly benefiting from the mistakes or fraudulent actions of others.

The attorney further argued that Favre's removal following the Supreme Court's review "would materially advance this case’s termination and enable the parties and the circuit court to avoid the exceptional expense of litigating meritless claims; avoid further unwarranted damage to Favre’s reputation; and facilitate the administration of justice in Mississippi."

Unfortunately for him, however, the state's highest court declined to intervene so Favre will continue to be subject to the MDHS litigation that seeks repayment of the fraudulently disbursed welfare funds.

Favre still on the hook to repay up to $6.7 million

Sports Illustrated reported that the MDHS, in response to the Supreme Court's denial of Favre's appeal, pointed out that Favre is not facing any criminal liability in the matter and all of the key individuals involved in the fraud have already been charged and/or have pleaded guilty.

That includes a woman named Nancy New, the former director of the nonprofit Mississippi Community Education Center, who had fraudulently received TANF funds and distributed that money to others.

"Brett Favre is one of those people," the attorney for MDHS said in a filing in opposition to the appeal. "Favre took $1.1 million in TANF funds from Nancy New for speeches he never made."

"Favre repaid that, but he has neither repaid the $1.7 million he arranged for his drug company, Prevacus, to receive in exchange for giving Nancy New stock, nor the $5 million he orchestrated the USM Athletic Department to receive for a volleyball facility," the filing added.

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