Former Asheville evidence room manager gets 10 months jail time

On June 17, former Asheville Police Department evidence-room manager William “Lee” Smith got 10 months jail time for embezzling government property. Local media outlets, including Xpress, had sued for release of an evidence-room audit tied to the case but withheld by Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore. That report will be released on Thursday, June 19.

From the Asheville Citizen-Times

ASHEVILLE – Judge Martin Reidinger on Tuesday sentenced a former manager of the Asheville police evidence room to 10 months in prison for embezzling government property, saying he undermined the criminal justice system in Buncombe County and abused a position of trust.

William “Lee” Smith, who pleaded guilty to the embezzling charge in March 2013, briefly addressed the court and apologized for his actions but hid his face from cameras and did not speak to reporters outside the federal courthouse in downtown Asheville.

From Carolina Pubic Press:

Smith, who had worked in the evidence room for 20 years, resigned in February 2011 shortly after he was suspended by the APD after testing positive on a drug test.

In the ensuing months, surveys of sensitive items in the evidence room indicated that some quantities of firearms, drugs and money were missing. Buncombe District Attorney Ron Moore ordered the room sealed, and the State Bureau of Investigation, aided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, launched a probe.

In March 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Charlotte office announced it had secured a guilty plea from Smith who confessed he stole between $10,000 and $30,000 of drug evidence. The plea announcement made no mention of the missing money and guns.

According to federal prosecutors, Smith was implicated by his fingerprints which were found inside the adhesive tape of what were supposed to have been sealed drug envelopes.

From WLOS:

[D.A.] Moore sealed results of the state investigation and independent audit, and says the time has come to make those findings public. As we’ve been reporting for three years now, Moore has said rules of professional conduct prevented him from doing that until the Smith case was closed. Even though that happened today, we won’t see the 15-binder audit, until 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Moore sealed results of the state investigation and independent audit, and says the time has come to make those findings public. As we’ve been reporting for three years now, Moore has said rules of professional conduct prevented him from doing that until the Smith case was closed. Even though that happened today, we won’t see the 15-binder audit, until 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon.Read More at: http://wlos.com/shared/news/features/top-stories/stories/wlos_former-evidence-room-manager-sentenced-16621.shtml
Moore sealed results of the state investigation and independent audit, and says the time has come to make those findings public. As we’ve been reporting for three years now, Moore has said rules of professional conduct prevented him from doing that until the Smith case was closed. Even though that happened today, we won’t see the 15-binder audit, until 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon.Read More at: http://wlos.com/shared/news/features/top-stories/stories/wlos_former-evidence-room-manager-sentenced-16621.shtml
Moore sealed results of the state investigation and independent audit, and says the time has come to make those findings public. As we’ve been reporting for three years now, Moore has said rules of professional conduct prevented him from doing that until the Smith case was closed. Even though that happened today, we won’t see the 15-binder audit, until 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon.Read More at: http://wlos.com/shared/news/features/top-stories/stories/wlos_former-evidence-room-manager-sentenced-16621.shtml
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About Margaret Williams
Managing Editor Margaret Williams has been at Xpress since 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987.

One thought on “Former Asheville evidence room manager gets 10 months jail time

  1. boatrocker

    Wow, a whole 10 months. That’s 70 months in dog months! My faith in local law enforcement is restored. It’s going to hard to explain when one of those missing guns is later used in a crime. At least the drugs are in a pipe or someone’s nose and the money is long spent so as to erase any trail.

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