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By Mike Johnson on 2024-03-25 13:44:00

Although the reasoning as to why was not listed, Mississippi Southern District Court's Judge Carlton W. Reeves has recused himself from the criminal trial against former WWE star Ted DiBiase Jr. in Mississippi.  Magistrate Judge LaKeysha Greer Isaac will now oversee the trial.

As a result, the jury trial against DiBiase Jr. has now been pushed back to 1/7/25.

DiBiase Jr. was arrested in April  2023 on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, six counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, and four counts of money laundering.  The government had file a previous motion stating, "the discovery in this case is extensive and additional time is needed by both sides to review the case and to prepare for trial or negotiate a plea. The government submits that the ends of justice that will be served by taking such action outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial."

DiBiase was scheduled to stand trial on 7/16 with a pre-trial conference set for 6/21.   

The indictment against DiBiase alleges that in conjunction with his co-conspirators John Davis, Christi Webb, Nancy New, and others, he fraudulently obtained federal funds from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs in order to misappropriate the money for his own personal use and benefit.

DiBiase is charged with allegedly using two different companies, Priceless Ventures LLC (of which he was the manager and owner) and Familiae Orientem LLC (of which he owned 99%) to receive money from "at least five sham contracts" which were "used as vehicles to defraud and steal federal finds" from the Mississippi Department of Human Resources, TEFAP, TANF and other federal programs.    The indictment claims that beginning around 2016 and continuing through "in or around" 2019, DiBiase "knowingly and willfully, that is, with the intent to further the objects of the conspiracy, conspired and agreed" to commit wire fraud and to steal from projects receiving federal funds.  The indictment claims that federal funds were issued to the MDHS for distribution to needy families and low-income individuals but instead sham contracts were awarded for delivery of social services, despite "knowing that the recipients were not qualified to provide social services and/or would not provide them."

The government claims that DiBiase, through his companies, entered into five different sham contracts and that he was paid in full or "almost full" payments, regardless of "whether any work had been performed and knowing that no work likely would ever be performed" - with the allegations being that DiBiase misused these funds for a down payment on a purchase of a house, the purchase of a boat and the purchase of a vehicle, among other expenditures.  He then never followed through with anything he was allegedly contracted to do.

The indictment claims that on 5/15/18, The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi Inc., which had been provided federal funds by the MDHS, entered into a sham contract with DiBiase via his Priceless LLC for $500,000 for leadership outreach services, paying him two payments totaling that amount around the same time.   A second sham contract with Priceless was entered into by the Mississippi Community Education Center around the same time resulted in an additional $500,000 payment made.  DiBiase deposited $1,020,833.33 into a bank account for Priceless LLC on 5/17.    On 5/22/18, FRC entered into another sham contract with DiBiase's Priceless LLC to "purportedly assess the need for emergency food assistance" for $497,987.   On 6/26/18, just one day after his Familiae LLC company was created, DiBiase entered into a sham contract with the FRC for $1 million "purportedly to create the RISE Program to address the needs of inner-city youth."   The fifth and final alleged sham contract was entered into around 10/1/18 when Priceless signed a $250,000 agreement "for the delivery of services" for MCEC.

The government is alleging one count of wire fraud by virtue of DiBiase transferring money from the Familiae LLC account to an account for K&T Management, another company owned by DiBiase as well as $401,304.37 in money transferred for the purchase of property.  They are seeking the forfeiture of that property, located at 115 Rosedowne Bend in Madison, MS as well any money that DiBiase received and profited from in related to the crimes he is alleged to have taken part in. 

Court records indicate DiBiase, his wife Kristen and the United States government had been locked in a legal battle over the Madison, MS property dating back to 2020 and that on 3/7/23, the couple signed an agreement to forfeit the property so that United States Marshalls could sell it off and recoup that money.  

DiBiase is facing a maximum of five year's imprisonment on the one count of conspiracy and up to a $250,00 fine, a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine on the wire fraud counts, up to five years' imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine regarding the charges of theft involving programs receiving federal funds, a maximum of ten years' imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine for charges of Monetary Transactions in Excess of $10,000 with the Proceeds of Specified Unlawful Activity.  So, that's a potential of 45 years imprisonment and a million dollar fine.

DiBiase plead not guilty to all charges before The Mississippi Southern District Court and was released on an unsecured $10,000 bond.    He was told he must advise the court before making any changes of his residence or phone number, must give a DNA sample to the court if requested and must not violate any federal, state or local laws while released.

When asked for comment leaving the court by WAPT-TV, DiBiase remarked, “Jesus loves you, brother. God bless you, man.  That's it."  His attorney attempted to prevent him from speaking but was unsuccessful. 

During the court hearing, prosecutors stated that DiBiase tested positive for both Adderall and marijuana the morning of his arrest.  His attorney stated DiBiase had used hemp oil and taken a CBD gummy, which is why he tested positive for marijuana.  His attorney also stated that DiBiase has been diagnosed with ADHD, which is why he used Adderall, but admitted his client did not have a current prescription.  He had instead been using his brother's prescription medicine.

If convicted, the third generation star faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy count, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count, and a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and for each count of money laundering.  

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