Ex-Mississippi welfare director arrested, accused of using funds to pay for ex-WWE wrestler's rehab

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The former head of the Mississippi Department of Human Services (DHS) has been arrested in an alleged multimillion-dollar embezzlement scheme, which officials said Wednesday helped pay for the rehab of retired WWE wrestler Brett DiBiase.

John Davis, the ex-DHS head who retired last year, was one of six charged in what the state auditor Shad White described as the "largest public embezzlement case in state history."

DiBiase is the son of Ted DiBiase, a WWE Hall of Famer.

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FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2016 file photo John Davis, then executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 7, 2016 file photo John Davis, then executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

An eight-month investigation by White's office concluded that the accused conspired to illegally obtain millions in public funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), using "numerous business entities and schemes to defraud the taxpayers," the office said.

Davis and former DHS employee Latimer Smith allegedly paid DiBiase money to teach classes about drug use, but the former wrestler was at a California rehab center and never "performed those services," the office said.

They also allegedly conspired with two others -- Dr. Nancy New, the director of the non-profit Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC), and her son, Zach New -- to pay for the former wrestler's drug treatment in Malibu using the funds from the welfare program.

“We have worked tirelessly in the Auditor’s office to uncover this sprawling conspiracy, so I want to thank the investigators, auditors, and analysts who all assisted,” White said.

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Anne McGrew, an accountant for the non-profit, was also charged.

The office said the total amount of money lost due to the schemes is unknown, but the loss "exceeds any embezzlement scheme in the records of the Auditor’s office," which dates back 20 years.

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All six were indicted by a grand jury by Jody Owens, the District Attorney of Hinds County. If convicted they face hundreds of years in prison, according to the office.