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Brett Favre paying back $1.1 million tied to 'egregious' Mississippi welfare scandal

Retired NFL star Brett Favre has started paying back $1.1 million in welfare money he received for speeches he did not show up to give, Mississippi state auditor Shad White said Wednesday. He applauded Favre's "good faith effort to make this right" and said he has seen "no records" that Favre knew welfare funds were the source of he money he was paid.

Favre, who lives in Mississippi, said on social media he "was unaware that the money being dispensed was paid for out of funds not intended for that purpose," he made "numerous ads" for the program that paid him, Families First, and he has "never received moneys for obligations I didn't meet." He also noted his charitable contributions for "underserved and underprivileged children" and said he "would certainly never do anything to take away from the children I have fought to help!"

"Families First" was a program used by two Mississippi nonprofits, Mississippi Community Education Center (MCEC) and Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC), at the heart of a massive public corruption investigation at Mississippi's Department of Human Services. Former DHS director John Davis and MCEC head Nancy New are among six people indicted earlier this year in a embezzlement case involving $4 million in funds for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

White released a 104-page audit of DHS on Monday detailing $94 million in questionable welfare spending, most of it from TANF. The welfare money went to buy expensive cars, hire Davis' family members, and sponsor a college baseball tournament, among other expenditures, the Mississippi Clarion Ledger reports. The audit report "shows the most egregious misspending my staff have seen in their careers at the Office of the State Auditor," White said in a statement. "If there was a way to misspend money, it seems DHS leadership or their grantees thought of it and tried it."