GREENVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Greenville’s mayor is standing behind the city’s public safety director after the director was charged with felony fraud.
Public Safety Director Mark Reiss, 51, is charged with health care fraud, along with his ex-wife — charges that carry up to 4 years in prison.
“He would not do anything wrong on purpose,” Mayor John Hoppough told 24 Hour News 8 on Friday. “I believe that.”
The city manager said he was blindsided by the charges.
Kent County Chief Assistant Chris Becker, who is working as a special prosecutor on the case, said the alleged fraud started when Reiss and his wife divorced in 2014.
Reiss is accused of illegally leaving his ex-wife on his health-care insurance after the divorce.
His ex-wife, Christine Reiss, is charged with filing a false claim under his insurance for medical treatment she got in Grand Rapids, Becker said.
A source close to the case said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan asked the Michigan State Police to investigate.
It’s not clear how much money is involved.
Reiss has been chief in Greenville since 2013, in charge of 17 public safety officers fighting both crime and fires.
“Public safety is a very important thing to him,” the mayor said. “That’s the kind of man he is. He’s been a great man to work with. I’ve enjoyed working with him. I look forward to many years of working with him.”
In a statement, Greenville City Manager George Bosanic said the city cooperated with state police but that the charge took them by surprise.
“The city was aware of and cooperated fully in the investigation but had not anticipated nor was informed that charges would be brought against Mr. Reiss,” Bosanic wrote. “Mr. Reiss is currently on vacation over the holidays. He has advised the city that he intends to plea not guilty to the charges.”
It wasn’t immediately clear who would run the department.
The mayor referred that question to the city manager; the city manager did not respond to 24 Hour News 8’s request for an answer.
Reiss, a former Grand Haven officer, could not be reached for comment.