A city spokesperson confirms that Asheville City Council members and the mayor were eligible for a flexible spending program that’s now the target of a fraud investigation, but refuses to reveal which elected officials actually participated. The Asheville Police Department has also issued a statement, and says the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office and SBI are assisting in the ongoing probe.
“Council members are eligible for medical insurance with the city — those who sign up for that insurance are eligible for the flex program,” spokesperson Dawa Hitch told Xpress, adding that, due to state statutes, the city cannot reveal which specific elected officials participated in the program. Over Twitter, Council member Gordon Smith has asserted that he was not enrolled.
Also, this afternoon the Asheville Police Department issued a statement on the ongoing investigation of possible fraud by city of Asheville employees, and there is no indication that any of 113 employees who received more than $1,000 reviewed had engaged in any criminal activity. The full text of the statement is below:
Police issue statement on city HR investigation
ASHEVILLE – Asheville police detectives are continuing their investigation into allegations of benefits fraud in the city’s Human Resources Department.
The alleged improprieties were discovered by city staff and reported to the Asheville police department.
The APD undertook the case, in conjunction with the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office. Both agencies are receiving assistance from the State Bureau of Investigation.
As part of the investigation, Asheville police and the DA’s office on March 16 reviewed 113 files of employees who received flexible spending reimbursements of more than $1,000.
There was no indication that any of those 113 employees participated in any criminal wrongdoing.
The investigation is ongoing.