Nonprofit founder who helped officials raid Mississippi’s welfare fund becomes latest witness for the feds
North Mississippi nonprofit founder Christi Webb, a key player in diverting state TANF funds, will testify for federal prosecutors in the welfare probe.
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YOU ASKED. ANNA ANSWERED.
MT Asks: Your questions about the Mississippi welfare scandal answered.
Anna Wolfe recaps Mississippi’s welfare scandal on video by answering your questions about the sprawling scandal she’s been investigating.
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HOW IT ALL STARTED
We’ve been chasing this story on corruption in Mississippi’s welfare programs for two years
We know that this story matters to you and Mississippi. Our reporting on corruption in welfare programs is far from over, and we want your support.
MORE FROM THE BACKCHANNEL
There are several different ways, some criminal and some just wrong, that the people in charge of the welfare program misspent the money, according to auditors.
1) Agency and nonprofit employees are accused of forging documents in order to issue or cover up illegal payments, sometimes to themselves – a clear crime.
2) Officials and contractors awarded TANF money for activities or programs that did not serve the poor or satisfy other goals of the welfare program, a possible violation of federal regulations.
3) Officials awarded money to specific vendors – at times on the suggestion of political figures – without an application or bid process, a possible violation of federal grant guidance.
A federal grant purchase might be wasteful, constitute a conflict of interest or violate federal grant rules, but not rise to the level of a crime. That’s why criminal charges in the state’s case so far cover only about $4 million, while the auditor’s office has recommended civil damages up to $96 million – $77 million the office says John Davis misspent plus interest.
Mississippi welfare: What we bought versus what we could have bought
We broke down what an audit alleges MDHS actually purchased versus what could have been purchased with funding from the federal TANF program.
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