Former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene faces a new round of federal charges including money laundering and wire and federal program fraud. Shortly after the new charges were announced Tuesday evening, Buncombe County announced it would sue Greene and her son Michael to recover money the county lost due to her alleged actions.
The 23 new charges Wanda Greene faces were announced by the office of U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray. They include wire fraud, federal program fraud, and money laundering. Greene, who retired last summer after 20 years on the job, is accused of using $2.3 million in county funds to purchase life insurance policies for herself, her son, and eight other county employees. Those purchases took place from April 2015 to June 2017 when Greene retired. The indictment alleges after meeting with a Charlotte-based insurance agent, Greene "falsely began telling selected County employees that she had been working with the Board (of commissioners) on a new benefit program for certain employees involving the County’s purchase of life insurance policies for them, at no expense to the employee. Greene allegedly stressed that only certain employees would be receiving this benefit, and told the employees with whom she spoke to keep this program and their participation strictly confidential." After retiring last year, Greene is accused of cashing out two of those life insurance policies, receiving almost $400-thousand from them. Greene did not seek approval of the Board of Commissioners in using county money to purchase the life insurance policies according to the indictment.
In a statement released shortly after the new charges were announced, Buncombe County announced a civil lawsuit against Wanda Greene, Michael Greene, and anyone who may have 'participated in or profited from' their unlawful actions. The suit seeks to recover public funds the county said was fraudently spent. The statement said the county was advised by federal investigators not to take any action that could impede the investigation into Greene. Now that the new indictment was announced, the county filed the suit.
In April, Wanda and Michael Greene were charged with fraud and conspiracy for allegedly misusing county-owned credit cards to make improper personal purchases. Authorities alleged the pair made more than $200-thousand purchases over a 10-year period. Those purchases included everything from food to DVD's to cell phone accessories to clothing to gift cards. Wanda Greene faces additional embezzlement charges related to that investigation. Michael Greene left his job in county government shortly after his mother's retirement.