The Wanda Greene Gang learns their fate today

By Pete Kaliner

August 28, 2019

Former Buncombe County government leaders and a contractor get sentenced today in federal court for widespread corruption, fraud, and embezzlement.

Former County Manager Wanda Greene - the purported ringleader - will reportedly be sentenced last.

Jennifer Bowman at the Asheville Citizen-Times has done excellent work on this scandal, and provides a series of articles today.

Greene, who headed county government for nearly two decades and was thrice indicted by a federal grand jury, faces the most possible time. Her crimes — two counts of federal program fraud, one count of making and subscribing a federal tax return and one count of receipt of kickbacks and bribes — carry the potential of 33 years and a $1 million fine.
The federal probation office, which considers information such as past criminal history, calculated a recommended guideline of 70 to 87 months. Greene's attorneys have requested a 48-month sentence.
Here's what the other defendants face in prison time and what they've asked the judge to consider:
  • Joe Wiseman: The contractor involved in the kickbacks scheme faces a five-year sentence for conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. The probation office has calculated a possible 36-47 months. Wiseman has asked for "significantly" less time.
  • Jon Creighton: The former assistant manager who took bribes from Wiseman faces five years for his conspiracy charge. His recommended sentencing range is 46-57 months, but Creighton has asked for no prison time and instead three years of probation.
  • Mandy Stone: Facing five years for conspiracy, the ex-manager's sentencing range is 36-47 months. She is asking for less prison time.
  • Michael Greene: The adult son of Wanda Greene and the county's former business intelligence manager, he faces five years for conspiracy. His sentencing range calls for zero to six months. Greene has not filed a sentencing memorandum in court, but did submit to the judge a series of character letters in which his family pleaded for leniency.

Of note, Bowman reports that the judge has a reputation in Charlotte for giving defendants the maximum sentences.

Pete's Prep: Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019

  • A Black Mountain man pleaded guilty to punching a 12-year old girl at the Asheville Mall. The Citizen-Times has the details.
  • Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper held a news conference yesterday where he said Medicaid expansion must be part of the budget negotiations with Republican legislative leaders - while denying it's an ultimatum. ABC 11 has more.
  • WRAL reports: "[T]he University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told the state Supreme Court Tuesday that campus officials should have the authority to decide whether to release details about how it disciplined students implicated in sexual assault cases."
  • Rolling poop in the Great Smoky Mountains!

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