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Wanda Greene given 7-year prison sentence, $100K fine; ‘horrific abuse of office,’ judge asserts
Monday, 02 September 2019 17:34

4 others also sentenced in corruption case

From Staff Reports

Wanda Greene was the “architect of a culture of corruption” whose actions constitute “a horrific abuse of office,” Judge Robert Conrad  said as he sentenced her Aug. 28 in Asheville to 84 months — or 7 years — in prison, and fined her $100,000 for her plea to four federal charges in multiple corruption schemes.

Wanda Greene’s sentence was one of a number of sentences of former Buncombe County officials and a former contractor that were handed out during the day. The five people previously had pleaded guilty in a Buncombe corruption case .

Meanwhile, outside of the Federal Courthouse some angry taxpayers vented their anger to reporters in regard to the five people involved in the country kickback sceme.

Besides Wanda Greene, the others sentenced included:

• Michael Greene: Wanda Greene’s son, a former Buncombe County business intelligence manager, was sentenced to six months and a $5,000 fine.

“Michael Greene indicated he’ll plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States,” Asheville television station WLOS News 13 reported later on Aug. 28. “The maximum penalty is five years in prison and fines totaling $250,000 or both,” 

WLOS added, “As a condition of the plea, Michael Greene wouldn’t have been required to testify against his mother.”

• Jon Creighton: Former Assistant Buncombe County Manager Jon Creighton was sentenced to 18 months in prison, a one-year supervised release, and a $25,000 fine.

“Creighton’s time was significantly less because of the cooperation he provided the US Attorneys Office. He stood up in court, addressing the judge, expressing his remorse for the crime, and apologizing to county employees he said he let down,” WLOS reported.

• Mandy Stone: Former Assistant Buncombe County Manager Mandy Stone, who later served relatively briefly as county manager after Wanda Greene’s retirement, was sentenced to 33 months in prison, a one-year supervised release and a $15,000 fine.

Regarding her prison term, WLOS noted, “Stone’s sentence is greater than Jon Creighton’s, in part because of his initial cooperation with investigators. The judge found Stone didn’t initially disclose information to investigators until she received a target letter.”

• Joseph Wiseman: Contractor Joe Wiseman was sentenced to 37 months, or just over three years. He had worked with Buncombe for more than 30 years.

WLOS noted that “because of meetings with federal authorities, Joe Wiseman pleaded guilty to a separate bill of information alleging a separate theory of federal liability than Greene, Creighton and Stone.

Wiseman still faces a civil suit filed by Buncombe County.

WLOS also reported that, “based on health issues and the facts that relate to Wiseman’s case, his attorneys had asked the judge to consider a departure from the sentencing guidelines and sentence Wiseman to significantly lower sentence than currently called for.” However, the prison sentence he was given — 37 months — was within the 37 to 46 months federal sentencing guidelines for a case like his.

“Wiseman has denied that he ever padded his invoices to cover the cost of the trips, instead sitting down with investigators to walk them through his lump-sum billing contracts. He and the county continue to wrestle over what he may owe the county in restitution.

“While judge Robert Conrad has received requests for leniency in sentencing, he’s also gotten many letters demanding lengthy prison times in the case,” WLOS reported.

The TV station added, “Creighton was second to enter into a plea deal with the government, behind Michael Greene, who was charged in a separate case with his mother, Wanda Greene.”

In announcing the Aug. 28 sentences, U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray said, in an official press release, “This is a reprehensible group of individuals, whose ethical obligation to their community took a back seat to personal gain. As the ringleader, Wanda Greene exploited her vast knowledge of the county’s operations to orchestrate various financial schemes, and solicited willing co-conspirators to carry out the fraud. These five defendants repeatedly and egregiously plundered county funds, stealing thousands of public dollars, while they operated with utter impunity, believing they were beyond the law. Even worse, each of them did more than take public money. 

Their actions destroyed the public’s trust in those whose ethical standards should have been beyond reproach. But today is their day of reckoning.”

Regarding Wanda Greene’s sentencing, WLOS described the scene as follows:

“With the courtroom half-way full, Wanda Greene’s attorney Thomas Amburgey told Judge Conrad, Greene feels the weight of what’s happened and while she can’t undo what’s she done, she’s making efforts now by working with federal investigators in the investigations that have stemmed from her wrongdoing.

“They pointed to Greene’s conversations and work with retired FBI agent Brian Cid to ensure that Greene provides any potentially relevant facts and no stone goes unturned, including wearing a wire to further pending grand jury investigations,” the TV station reported.

“Despite the good deeds she did for the county, ‘her legacy will be this case, not anything she did,’ said Noell Tin.

“While her attorneys argued again the court documents they’d already sent to the judge asking for a reduction in time for her cooperation, the judge wouldn’t accept it,” WLOS reported.

Under the sentencing guidelines of 70 to 87 months, WLOS reported, “judge Robert Conrad actually sentenced Greene to two sentences, just four months shy of the maximum sentence she could receive. 

“The first sentence is 84-months for the federal program fraud, resulting from the use of county credit cards, and the federal program fraud for the illegal purchase of whole life insurance policies and tax fraud. 

“Conrad also sentenced Greene to 36 months for the kickback and bribery scheme involving luxury trips, but that sentence runs concurrent or in conjunction with the 84 month sentence, making the total sentence 84 months.

“After questioning if she was a flight risk, the judge decided to allow Greene, 68, to self-report to the Bureau of Prisons at a future date,” WLOS stated.


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