School Officials, Governor, and Famed NFL Player Involved In Massive School Money Fraud Case

Private school officials just plead guilty in a massive welfare scandal that involves the states former governor, and a NFL quarterback.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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welfare scandal

It may become one of the biggest scandals of the year. This multi-million dollar fraud case involved prominent owners of a prestigious private school ensemble, a former governor, and a three-time MVP former quarterback. All three are entangled in a welfare scandal web, involving $4 million in education dollars that prosecutors say was defrauded from a private school in Mississippi.

The story starts with reports from WLBT News in Jackson, Mississippi. Nancy New, the owner of the now-defunct New Summit School, and her son Zach New, a former Oxford University director and the now-former vice president of the duo’s private school district reached deals Wednesday night as they pleaded guilty in the welfare scandal. Nancy pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, and her son plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

welfare scandal

The welfare scandal lawsuit erupted last year when the News’ were accused of defrauding the Mississippi Department of Education out of $4 million in public funds. The News’ allegedly filled out fake reimbursement claims for students who never attended the private school. Similarly, claims for funds were filled out for teachers who never worked at the school as well. 

Of the $4 million that the News’ are accused of embezzling, $2.15 million was sent to personal investments in companies called Prevacus and PreSolMD. Tying this transaction into the growing welfare scandal, a newly released report from Anne Wolfe of Mississippi Today claims that former NFL quarterback Brett Favre might have known about the money fraud. It also claims that Favre brought in Mississippi’s former governor, Phil Bryant as well.

Brett Favre

Brett Favre is accused of using his political and business connections to collect taxpayer funds to invest in his preferred organizations. The report sites unearthed text messages where Favre offered Bryant company stock in Prevacus in exchange for help. The former governor agreed in text to the welfare scandal, and the messages even mentioned Nancy New as being the benefactor of the funding. 

So far, The News’ have been the only individuals charged in the massive welfare scandal.  Brett Favre initially denied any knowledge of any funding abuse, and so did the former governor. Responding to the leaked text messages in the news, Bryant claimed he must have “misread” the text messages. But a suit against the two big-wigs is likely in the works, as the Mississippi Department of Human Services director Bob Anderson previously said he is waiting for approval from the state’s attorney general to file civil charges against the two men. 

Phil Bryant

The News’ could each face fines up to $250,000, along with jail time. Their sentencing isn’t set until Nov. 19th, 2022.  But as authorities are still investigating the welfare scandal, there is a chance the News’ might have incriminating evidence they can offer against more powerful figures in plea deals. 

At the end of the day, this massive welfare scandal likely hurt students in Mississippi the most. Embezzling money is a crime, but defrauding it from welfare systems aimed at education is outright immoral. At a time when many legislators push for more funding to go towards private schools, this gives proponents one more citation of why it’s a risky move: private schools receive more autonomy, but that freedom can sometimes come with a price.