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Press Release

Former Executive Director of Mississippi Department of Human Services Pleads Guilty for Conspiring to Defraud the State of Mississippi

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi

Jackson, Miss. – A former Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) official pleaded guilty today for conspiring to defraud the State of Mississippi of millions of dollars in federal funds.

According to court documents, John Davis, 54, of Jackson, Mississippi, and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained and misused federal funds – including funds from two programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) – for their personal use and benefit. At Davis’s direction, MDHS provided federal funds to two nonprofit organizations and then directed the two nonprofit organizations to fraudulently award contracts to various entities and individuals for social services that were never provided. In addition, Davis caused the nonprofit organizations to disburse full or almost-full payments pursuant to those sham contracts at or near the beginning of the contract periods, regardless of whether any work had been performed and knowing that no significant services would be provided.

Davis pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, and one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 2, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy count and 10 years in prison for the theft concerning programs receiving federal funds count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca for the Southern District of Mississippi; Special Agent in Charge Jermicha Fomby of the FBI Jackson Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Tamala Miles of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); and Special Agent in Charge Dax Roberson of the Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG) made the announcement.

The FBI, HHS-OIG, and USDA-OIG are investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Adrienne E. Rosen and Della Sentilles of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Fraud Section, respectively, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dave Fulcher and Andrew Eichner for the Southern District of Mississippi are prosecuting the case.

Updated September 22, 2022

Public Corruption