The sentencing is set for November 19, 2022. Both could face prison time, fines of up to $250,000 and supervised release.
The next phase of the legal process to hold those accountable for the largest misuse of public funds in Mississippi history moved forward this week.
Nancy New plead guilty to one count of wire fraud, facing up to ten years in prison. Her son, Zach New plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Both Nancy and Zach face fines of up to $250,000. Sentencing is set for November 19, 2022.
Nancy and Zach New were originally charged in federal court in March 2021 for crimes of money laundering, ID theft and wire fraud. The charges came after a large investigation by Auditor Shad White’s office into a misuse of funds by the Department of Human Services. The final numbers showed the News’ as well as former DHS Director John Davis among others were involved in misspending over $77 million in TANF dollars.
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State Auditor Shad White, under a gag order due to other pending state cases related to this matter, tweeted that his office was proud of their work in this case.
“My office was proud to continue our work with our federal partners to help achieve this result in this case. The gag order in the upcoming state cases bars me and everyone else in those cases from making additional comments,” State Auditor Shad White said.
On the guilty plea of Nancy and Zach New in fed court: My office was proud to continue our work with our federal partners to help achieve this result in this case. The gag order in the upcoming state cases bars me and everyone else in those cases from making additional comments.
— Shad White (@shadwhite) April 21, 2022
The recent plea agreements come less than three weeks before the News were set to stand trial in the federal case.
Zack New’s plea agreement included a sentencing of up to five years in prison with up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Nancy could face up to 10 years with the same supervised release and fine stipulations.
The News ran New Learning Resources, Inc. which operated New Summit School in Jackson. Nancy served as the owner and Zach held the position of Vice President for the private school.
In the original indictment, the News were charged with filing fraudulent claims in order to get reimbursement money to funnel into the school. It is estimated that New Learning Resources School District fraudulently obtained an excess of $4 million, $2.15 million of which prosecutors have said they used to make investments in Prevacus and PreSolMD.
The pleas come days after additional charges were filed against former DHS Director John Davis in Hinds County. The indictments against the News and Davis were all part of the same infractions uncovered in the Auditor’s 2020 investigation.
You can read the pleas entered by the News below.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the pleadings were related to the DHS pending case.
**Contributions by Sarah Ulmer, Capitol Correspondent**