NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk builder Ronnie Boone, Sr. has pleaded guilty to bribing Norfolk Treasurer Anthony Burfoot and other high-ranking Norfolk city officials — in addition to defrauding two banks.
According to the Department of Justice, Boone was charged Thursday with one count of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. Boone appeared in court Friday morning for an arraignment, during which he pleaded guilty to the charges.
As part of the plea agreement, Boone must cooperate fully with the federal government and provide all information requested regarding any criminal activity. The agreement also states that the government will not criminally prosecute any other member of Boone’s immediate family on similar charges.
Walking of court Friday, Boone told members of the media, “I’ll talk to you later.”
Boone faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison during his sentencing scheduled for January 26, 2017.
Judy Boone confirmed in a statement Friday that Ronnie Boone had pleaded guilty:
This is a most difficult time for our family. While Ronald Boone, Sr. has taken full responsibility for his actions, I defer all particulars to his attorneys. Please know that Judy Boone Realty, as well as the agents who work there, will continue to operate business as usual. I love my husband and ask that the community remember all the good works he has achieved and the people he has helped in Hampton Roads through his numerous charitable works and community efforts. My family and I ask for your prayers and for his forgiveness.
According to the documents, Boone also defrauded Fulton Bank and BB&T.
The documents allege Norfolk Treasurer Anthony Burfoot and others “intentionally combined” in a fraudulent scheme.
Boone secretly provided cash, dinners and free access to an Outer Banks beach house to Burfoot, and in exchange he engaged in official acts and promised to vote in Boone’s favor on numerous city ordinances, the documents show.
Burfoot was indicted in January on several federal charges including conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and honest services wire fraud, to which he pleaded not guilty.
A federal trial date of Nov. 7 has been set for Burfoot.
According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, from in or about 2002 through in or about 2012, Boone engaged in a corrupt quid-pro-quo relationship with another high-ranking Norfolk City Official, again providing cash and other things of value in exchange for the public official using his position to benefit Boone.
In June, the FBI executed a search warrant at the building in Ocean View that houses Judy Boone Realty, although at the time would not confirm the target of the investigation.
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Additional court documents: