Ronnie Boone Sr. receives house arrest for bank fraud, bribery

Ronnie Boone, Sr. arrives at the Norfolk federal courthouse on Wenesday, Nov. 16, 2016. Boone was expected to testify in the public corruption trial of Anthony Burfoot. Credit: WAVY/Jason Marks

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk developer Ronnie Boone Sr. was sentenced Monday to one year of house arrest for bank fraud and bribery charges.

Boone pleaded guilty in September 2016 to bribing high-ranking Norfolk city officials — including City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot — as well as defrauding two banks.

Document: United States v. Ronnie Boone

Boone pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. He was facing a maximum of 35 years in prison for the charges, but received no jail in Monday’s hearing.

As part of a plea deal, Boone agreed to cooperate fully with the federal government.

“Mr. Boone was, out of all their witnesses, their star,” his attorney Jon Babineau said.

He testified a few months later in Burfoot’s corruption trial that he gave the city treasurer money and gifts in exchange for favors from city council.

Boone told a jury in November that Burfoot helped get a special exemption permit to serve alcohol at the Ocean View Pier.

Jurors found Burfoot guilty in December on six of eight federal charges. Defense attorney Andrew Sacks has filed several motions and documents in the past few months, challenging the verdict as well as the suspension of Burfoot.

Boone also received three months of probation on Monday. The judge’s decision to keep Boone out of prison had more to do with his health.

“There is significant concern that he could have a fatal stroke, at any time,” Babineau said.

A doctor told the judge that Boone has dangerously high blood pressure. Another doctor’s report showed he has potential signs of early onset dementia. The judge determined that prison could complicate his health and may even prove fatal.

The judge gave Boone other restrictions on his sentence. Boone is not allowed to purchase new personal or real property (real estate) until he pays a $950,000 forfeiture.