Former Buncombe Co. Manager, son indicted on federal charges for - FOX Carolina 21

Former Buncombe Co. Manager, son indicted on federal charges for misusing public funds

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ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced Thursday that the former Buncombe County Manager Wanda Skillington Greene, 66, and her son, Michael Gene Greene, 47, both of Arden, were indicted on federal charges for misuse of public funds.

The criminal bill of indictment charged both mother and son with conspiracy to embezzle, steal, obtain by fraud or misapply Buncombe County funds and wire fraud offenses. Wanda Greene is also charged with embezzling public funds and aiding and abetting such embezzlement.

According to the indictment, Wanda Greene was appointed as County Manager for Buncombe County in 1997, and remained in that position until her retirement in June 2017. Michael Greene began his employment with Buncombe County in 2004, until he resigned in August 2017.

Investigators said between 2007 and 2017, the Greenes carried out a conspiracy to embezzle public funds by misusing their government credit cards and used cards of other county employees to make approximately $200,000 worth of improper purchases.

The purchases reportedly included gift cards totaling $21,760 from various retailers and restaurants, including Walmart, Target, Olive Garden, and Cracker Barrel.

Investigators said Wanda Greene then used the gift cards to buy groceries, personal hygiene products, clothing, wine and make-up. She’s also accused of using the cards to purchase other items and services.

In 2011, the indictment states Wanda Green stopped using her county-issued credit cards and began using subordinate county employees’ cards to continue the purchases. She reportedly accomplishes this by having employees provide her with photocopies of the cards.

The indictment stated that Michael Greene participated in Wanda’s scheme and used his county-issued card to pay for food, wireless services, and goods totaling more than $9,100.

If convicted, the Greenes can face up to 20 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.

On Friday, former County Manager Wanda Greene and former employee Michael Greene pleaded not guilty. 

Buncombe County Commissioners and Administration have no further comments at this time based on the news of the not guilty pleas. They said, "our commitment is to do all we can to make sure that if these charges are proven true that there is full accountability." 

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