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Crime

MDHS files suit against 38 companies and persons in welfare scandal

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(Credit: George Hodan CC0 Public Domain)

The Mississippi Department of Human Services has filed a lawsuit against 38 companies and persons in relation to mishandled welfare funds. The lawsuit seeks to reclaim $24 million which were misused and part of a wide scandal.

“Governor Tate Reeves tasked me with correcting the path of MDHS,” said Bob Anderson, Executive Director of MDHS.

“As part of that process, MDHS has been working hard to restore trust and put in place numerous internal controls to ensure that misspending is not repeated in the future,” Anderson stated. “The rest of the task involves recovering and returning to the taxpayers the millions of dollars in misspent funds which were intended to benefit Mississippi’s needy families.”

Lastly, Anderson emphasized that, “This is our initial complaint, as in any civil lawsuit, as discovery proceeds, we anticipate that additional parties and additional claims may be added or changed as the matter moves forward.”

On Monday, Governor Tate Reeves and Attorney General Lynn Fitch released a joint statement concerning the lawsuit. “This lawsuit is the culmination of hard work over the past year by the Attorney General’s Office, the Office of the State Auditor, the Department of Human Services, and the Governor’s Office. We note that our investigation and analysis of the misspending of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is far from over and this list of defendants and/or the sums we seek to recover may expand or change. We are mindful that criminal investigations and litigation are occurring on the State and Federal level, as well. Our purpose with this suit is to seek justice for the broken trust of the people of Mississippi and recover funds that were misspent. To promote these ends and to ensure the integrity of our litigation and ongoing investigation, we will not comment beyond this on this case.”

State Auditor Shad White said in a statement, “When we issued our civil demands related to the DHS scandal last fall and then turned those demands over to the Attorney General’s Office for enforcement, we knew this day would eventually come. I applaud the team filing this suit and am grateful the state is taking another step toward justice for the taxpayers. We will continue to work alongside our federal partners—who have been given access to all our evidence for more than two years—to make sure the case is fully investigated.”

MDHS has posted the findings of the independent forensic audit and steps taken to correct the issues on the agency website.

 

Vicksburg Daily News