If you somehow missed the news, former NFL star quarterback Brett Favre is allegedly involved, though not yet charged, in a corruption scandal involving his alma mater the University of Southern Mississippi. Roughly $77 million in state welfare money was allegedly misappropriated.
The (many) allegations
The multifaceted case involves Favre pressing then-Mississippi governor Phil Bryant to defraud the state of $5 million for a volleyball stadium – Favre’s daughter played volleyball at Southern Mississippi – and later again for an indoor football facility.
Tax records show that his charity Favre 4 Hope, created to help charities for disabled children and breast cancer patients, allegedly funneled $130,000 to the university’s athletic foundation between 2018 and 2020.
Finally, a pharmaceutical company that Favre has a financial interest in received $2.15 million in misappropriated welfare funds as well.
Numerous people involved in these schemes have already pleaded guilty and are cooperating with investigators.
Incriminating text messages and tax records
Numerous text messages from Favre indicate that he knew that public money was being mishandled and even encouraged further mishandling in regard to the football facility. “If you were to pay me is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?,” Favre texted.
An audit shows Favre was paid $500,000 in December 2017 and $600,000 in June 2018 for appearance and speaking fees at events he did not attend. Though he eventually gave the money back, he still reportedly owes $228,000 in interest.
Increasing brazenness in defying the law
We live in a new era of lawbreaking. Whereas corruption was formerly conducted as quietly as possible, numerous high-profile cases in recent years have given the impression that flagrant lawbreaking comes with little or no consequences, if you know the right people.
Coincidentally, in anticipation of possible criminal indictment, Favre has hired a legal aide of former President Donald Trump.
It’s perhaps this atmosphere that has emboldened people to engage in corruption with barely any effort at concealment. The ease at which investigators and the media were able to obtain incriminating text messages and tax documents should give pause to anyone considering such activities.
Public corruption charges are often wide-ranging and have cascading effects on the accused, including loss of reputation, future opportunities and income. Only experienced attorneys can mount the strong defense needed in these cases.