The former head of a Mississippi nonprofit organization pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing government funds meant to help needy families in one of the poorest states in the US. Christi Webb appeared before the US district judge
JACKSON, Miss. — The former head of a Mississippi nonprofit organization pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to stealing government funds intended to help needy families in one of the poorest states in the United States, court documents show.
Christi Webb, who resigned this week as director of the Northern Mississippi-based Family Resource Center, appeared before US District Judge Carlton Reeves in Jackson. Court documents show Webb pleaded guilty to charges that could send her to prison for up to 10 years.
The federal charges stem from a welfare scandal that has ensnared high-profile figures, including retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre, who lives in Mississippi.
John Davis, who was executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services from 2016 to mid-2019, pleaded guilty last September to state and federal charges related to wasting money through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. He has not yet been sentenced.
Last year, the Mississippi Department of Human Services filed a civil lawsuit to try to recover millions of dollars of wasted welfare money. Webb and the Northern Mississippi Family Resource Center are among the defendants. Favre has not faced criminal charges, but is one of more than three dozen defendants in the civil lawsuit.
Nancy New and Zachary New, a mother and son who ran another nonprofit organization and an education company, pleaded guilty in April 2022 to state charges of embezzling welfare money, including lavish gifts like tickets First class air tickets to Davis. The News organization also funneled welfare money to be used for drug rehabilitation for Brett DiBiase, a former professional wrestler and friend of Davis who pleaded guilty to state and federal fraud charges.
Welfare money helped finance pet projects of the wealthy, including $5 million for a volleyball stadium Favre supported at his alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi, the state auditor said. Favre’s daughter played volleyball at the school beginning in 2017.
A sentencing hearing for Webb has been set for June 16.
This story has been corrected to indicate that Webb is the former, not current, director of the Family Resource Center.
Michael Goldberg is a staff member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on covert issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mikergoldberg.