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Former fire chief, wife charged with embezzlement

BRYSON CITY (AP) — The former fire chief in Bryson City and his wife have been indicted on embezzlement charges.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported that state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced the charges on Wednesday.

Forty-four-year-old Joseph Winford Hughes is charged with embezzlement, making false statements, forgery, and conspiracy.

Forty-four-year-old Cylena Taylor Hughes is charged with larceny, forgery, embezzlement and conspiracy.

Investigators say the money was taken from the Bryson City Fire Department Local Firemen’s Relief Fund and the East Swain Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization.

Police began investigating in September after discrepancies were found in the fire department finances. The fire station was temporarily shut down, and officials conducted an audit of the department’s assets. Hughes was relieved of duty Sept. 23.

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