Former Tryon commissioner pleads guilty to fraud charges

Published 3:15 pm Monday, April 23, 2018

Faces up to 10 years for crimes

TRYON — Former Tryon Commissioner Roy Miller pleaded guilty on Friday to federal fraud charges, during an appearance in court in Asheville before magistrate judge Dennis Howell.

Miller was arrested in April 2017 after the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the federal bureau of investigation looked into former Tryon Fire Chief Joey Davis, who is accused of using town credit cards to pay for Miller’s personal bills.

Roy Miller

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Miller was originally charged with conspiracy to commit federal program fraud, three counts of federal program fraud, extortion and witness tampering. Davis was also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit federal program fraud.

During the court hearing Friday, Miller was sworn and advised of his rights, and the plea was entered. The judge accepted, with objections to the acceptance of the plea due by May 4.

A sentence hearing has not yet been set.

Miller signed a certification stating that, after consulting with his attorney, he certifies that the factual basis in the case are true and accurate.

Miller had to agree to many questions during the plea agreement Friday, including that he understands the maximum penalty for the offense is a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years, a fine in an amount not to exceed the sum of $250,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than three years and a $100 special assessment.

Miller also said he understood that parole has been abolished in the federal system and, if he is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, that he will not be released on parole. When sentenced to prison federally, all sentences are served in full, without the possibility of early release.

Miller also agreed that he understands by entering a plea of guilty to a felony charge, he may be deprived, at least for a time, certain civil rights such as the right to vote, the right to hold a public office, the right to serve on a jury and the right to possess a firearm.

Miller was arrested a second time on April 10, after he violated his pretrial release for testing positive for cocaine.

Court documents say on April 12, 2017, a detention hearing was held and issued an order setting conditions of Miller’s release. Miller was released from federal custody last year on a $25,000 unsecured bond with pretrial conditions including that he not violate any federal, state or local law, and that he must refrain from use or unlawful possession of a narcotic drug or other controlled substance unless prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner.

“On April 2, 2018, based on the violation report, the court issued an arrest warrant for defendant,” states the court document. “The report detailed that on March 21, 2018, the probation officer collected a urine sample from defendant. The sample tested positive for cocaine. On March 26, 2018, the probation officer confronted defendant who stated he took a substance given to him by a friend on March 18, 2018, but thought it was pain medication. On March 30, 2018, the probation officer again visited defendant. Defendant confirmed that the substance given to him contained cocaine.”

Other federal documents, including Miller’s plea agreement, are sealed.

Davis is expected to appear in federal court on his charge on May 14.