Bulletin receives responses regarding Miller plea

Published 8:49 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Following the Bulletin publishing the article “Tryon Commissioner Miller pleads guilty to food stamp fraud,” Tryon Commissioner and Mayor Pro-Tem Roy Miller said he wished to respond regarding the charge.

Miller, 47, pled guilty May 22 to one count of misdemeanor conspiracy to defraud the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina out of Charlotte.

“In response to the article written about me in the TDB on June 10, 2013, I felt compelled to give the other side of the story. Somewhere around middle of April 2012, Mr. R.M. was asked to stay with us by our family, due to him sleeping in an abandoned car. Mr. R.M slept, ate, showered, watched TV like a human being at our house. Prior to March, my daughter had purchased medication on two occasions for him at Owens Pharmacy. In 2006-2007 Mr. R.M. stayed with us again because he was homeless, we did all the things for him that others would not … i.e.: food, shelter, clothes, bathing. There were many people around town who knew we were helping him, at one point there was discussion about putting him a shed on our other property, so he would always have a place to live. Our family purchased clothes, medication, as well as gave him rides. On March 9, 2012 R.M. asked me to take him to the store to buy some food for him. I took him to three stores, the stores would not allow him in due to some previous circumstances. I then took him to BI-LO in Landrum, where he asked me to go in and get these items for him, he gave me his EBT card, and a pin number. I went into store, purchased his items and gave them to him as well as his card and receipt. Approximately a week later, I was contacted by Tim Wright with TPD who said, “I understand R.M. is living with you.” I said yes [and] he then went on to inform me that some cars had been broken into and R.M. was a suspect. He asked if he could come and search where/around R.M. was sleeping at my house. They did come and search and after that I asked Mr. R.M. to leave due to … his illegal activity and alcohol use. After leaving, Mr. R.M. took his food, clothes and his belongings (his EBT card as well). My only reason for pleading guilty in this matter was that my attorney advised me that even though I thought I was doing a good deed, I did use the card to purchase R.M. groceries and using it even with his permission was wrong … that was the one and only time I used his card purchasing food for him. I do not know what/who R.M. did with his EBT card after that.”

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The Bulletin had previously contacted Miller seeking comment on Friday, June 7. Other Town of Tryon commissioners and attorney Bailey Nager were also asked to comment on the situation.

Commissioner Wim Woody offered the following:
“My response is that fraud in any form is a serious matter. I would urge Commissioner Miller to issue a statement indicating his intentions as to continuing to represent the citizens of Tryon,” Woody said via email.

Despite a bond being included in court documents, Miller was not arrested for the crime. The Bulletin has attempted to reach Nager with questions related to if the charge would affect Miller’s service on the Tryon commission. Nager is not expected back in his office until Thursday, so the Bulletin also contacted the NC School of Government and the NC Press Association for official state regulations, but the messages had not been returned as of press time.