Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene and her son Michael were indicted Thursday morning on charges they both misused public funds. Each faces conspiracy and fraud charges, while Wanda Greene faces additional embezzlement counts. The pair are accused of using Buncombe County-owned and issued credit cards to make improper personal purchases. Federal authorities allege Wanda and Michael Greene used those cards to buy roughly $200-thousand worth of goods over a 10-year period from 2007 to 2017. Wanda Greene retired on June 30th of 2017. Shortly after, federal authorities announced they were investigating her. Michael Greene resigned from his county government job as an information system security officer in August 2017.
The cards that are alleged to have been used for the purchases in question are credit cards, also known as 'purchasing cards' or 'PCards'. According to the indictment, the county had stated policies for the corporate Visa cards and what they could and could not be used to purchase. Personal purchases were prohibited, as were any purchases over the monthly transaction limits, which were $10-thousand.
According to the indictment, Wanda Greene had received 3 such cards by the year 2007. Michael Greene received one in October 2007, but following an audit of his purchases with it, his PCard privileges were revoked in or about January 2009. Given her position as county manager, Wanda Greene had the 'ultimate authority to review and approve her own PCard purchases. No review of her PCard purchases by the Board (of commissioners) was required.'
It was in 2007 when the fraudulent purchases started according to indictment. Wanda Greene is accused of purchasing more than $18-thousand worth of goods at Best Buy, almost $11-thousand at Target, nearly $65-hundred at TJ Maxx, and around $15-hundred each at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Tuesday Morning. There were also purchases at Wal-Mart, Amazon, Barnes and Noble. The indictment also showed more than $13-thousand worth of goods in individual purchases. Those include $25-hundred for gift cards at Office Depot, and more than $2-thousand for a purchase from B&H Photo Video, an online outlet that sells various electronics. Michael Greene allegedly purchased almost $3-thousand from Amazon using his card, mostly on iPhone and Blackberry accessories as well as a $120 electric toothbrush. The final purchases on his card occurred at the beginning of January 2009, around the time he lost his PCard privileges. They included 19 DVD's, the final of which was Citizen Kane. Michael Greene is also accused of spending another $35-hundred at other retail stores and restaurants.
The more recent purchases outlined in the indictment involve both Wanda and Michael Greene paying for their personal and family wireless service. Authorities allege both Wanda Greene used subordinates PCards to do that, racking up more than $18-thousand dollars from 2012 to May of 2017 - a month before she retired. There were also another $18-thousand purchased at various outlets according to indictment where a subordinate's card was used. The final one was a $2,234.94 purchase from Best Buy dated June 9th, 2017, three weeks before Wanda Greene retired.
Both Greene's also allegedly directed subordinates to use their PCards to buy gift cards, which the Greene's then used for personal items. Those gift cards came from Staples, Office Depot, Target, Walmart, and Sam's Club. Authorities say those purchases totaled more than $75-thousand from 2010 to 2017. Four days before she retired, Greene handed over about $14-thousand worth of unused cards to the Buncombe County budget director in an envelope.