Is Brett Favre the New Face of Fraud?

Well by now if you are a sports fan, you already know some of the story. It’s all over the place.

Brett Favre apparently donated other people’s money to his alma mater to build a volley ball court.

The allegations include that welfare funds were funneled through a non-profit run by a friend of Favre’s wife. Favre got $1.1 million in 2017-2018 to give speeches (not sure he actually ever gave the speeches). He turned around and gave the money to build a volley ball stadium at the school where his kid played. The Mississippi auditor demanded that money back, and had to sue to get interest on it. The FBI is interested.

The non-profit involved apparently mis-spent $77Million. The head of the Non-profit that paid Favre reportedly pled guilty to 13 felony counts.  Who gave that non-profit $77 Million and how much of it was federal money is what I want to know now.

I’m wondering if the Feds are getting serious about all this.  They may already be, but we won’t know for a while how serious, we do know the FBI questioned Favre.

By serious I mean, of course, is the Federal Government going to use the False Claims Act. There is no Mississippi State False Claims Act, so nobody can use such a law to get treble damages against Favre. Welfare Funds are Federal funds though. For a lot of reasons including that most of this is in the news, it’s probably too late for a person to file such a case under the qui tam provisions.

Generally, suing a State is difficult to do, States enjoy sovereign immunity so individuals using the False Claims Act in that kind of matter find it tough.

Football players do not have sovereign immunity, and the Feds can if they act on it, overcome that problem against Mississippi as well. The non-profit involved is alleged to have “misspent” $77 Million in such funds. They got those funds from the State of Mississippi some of which at least Mississippi got from the Feds.

What did the state of Mississippi know about the funds they sent to that non-profit? Are they culpable?  Maybe that’s what the FBI is going to find out. Keep in mind the FCA as written holds defendants liable for “knowing” defined as reckless disregard or willful ignorance. $77 Million in Welfare funds got “mis-spent” what does mis-spent mean here? Favre and the State could, of course have explanations (the non-profit may too but the head of it apparently pled guilty to a bunch of counts) or could be innocent. However, the State Auditor is saying real money was misspent.

Somebody needs to be held accountable for this kind of money being mismanaged even if we don’t actually want welfare money back from the poorest state in the Union. It would be helpful however if the Feds could ensure welfare money intended to go to welfare recipients in the poorest state of the Union actually got to them, instead of multi-millionaire football players and their friends.

As I said the FBI is reported to have questioned Favre this month.

In case the Feds forget here’s a little citation for them 31 U.S.C. Sections 3729-3733. Treble damages, alternative remedies, there’s a lot to look at here.