NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre has begun repaying $1.1 million (R20.5 million) he received in welfare money for speeches he never gave, the Mississippi state auditor said on Wednesday.
Shad White said in a statement that his office had received $500 000 from Favre, who has also pledged to pay another $600 000 in instalments over the coming months.
On Monday, White had released an audit of spending by the Mississippi Department of Human Services that showed Favre had been paid $1.1 million for three speaking engagements, a radio spot and a keynote address, none of which he participated in.
The money came from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programme, which is funded by the federal government to aid impoverished families.
White said in a statement there was no indication that Favre - who was paid through the non-profit Mississippi Community Education Centre (MCEC) - knew that was the case.
"Today my office has received $500 000 from Brett Favre in repayment for TANF money he was paid through MCEC and a commitment to repay the remainder in instalments over the next few months," White said.
"The money will be held in our clearing account for a period and then be sent, in full, to the Mississippi Department of Human Services to be used for TANF-appropriate expenditures.
"I want to applaud Mr. Favre for his good faith effort to make this right and make the taxpayers and TANF families whole," White added. "To date, we have seen no records indicating Mr. Favre knew that TANF was the programme that served as the source of the money he was paid."
In the audit report released on Monday, White said his office found that more than $94 million of federal grant money that went to the Department of Human Services in Mississippi - one of the poorest states in the United States - was allegedly spent improperly, converted to personal use, spent on family members and friends or wasted.
A former Human Services director and five others, including a former director of the MCEC, were indicted on state charges of embezzling some $4 million in TANF funds and have pleaded not guilty.
Favre, who won a Super Bowl with the Packers in the 1996 season before retiring in 2010 as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, is a Mississippi native who now lives in the state.