Norfolk businessman Ronnie Boone pleads guilty to bribery of city officials and bank fraud

Posted at 10:52 AM, Sep 16, 2016
 Ronald Boone

Ronald Boone

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk businessman Ronald W. Boone pleaded guilty Friday to charges related to bribing the Norfolk City Treasurer and bank fraud.

Court documents say that from March 2004 through December 2015 Boone provided cash, gifts, other valuable items, and free access to an Outer Banks beach house to Norfolk City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot.

In exchange for the goods provided, court documents allege Burfoot performed specific official actions and promised to engage in future official actions to benefit Boone and his business.

The statement of facts in the case says Boone repeatedly gave Burfoot several thousands of dollars in cash in increments usually less than $2,500. Burfoot reportedly always demanded payments in cash. Boone also provided "loans" to Burfoot totaling $20,000 but Burfoot never made payments on the "loans" and Boone never asked for payment.

Burfoot also took friends to Boone's North Carolina beach house on several occasions free of charge. In order to conceal Boone's ownership of the house, Burfoot claimed that he owned the beach house to multiple friends and even had a key, according to court documents.

In exchange for Boone's actions, he sought support for important issues before City Council. Court documents say Burfoot repeatedly voted in favor with Boone's wishes on matters before City Council including special exceptions for Boone's business and properties.

Andrew Sacks, Burfoot's attorney, denied the allegations, calling them "an absolute lie made up for help himself. [Boone] is trying to curry favor with the prosecutor."

Boone also engaged in a similar relationship with another high-ranking Norfolk City Official who hasn't been named, again providing cash and other valuables in exchange for the use of his position to benefit Boone, according to court documents.

In addition to the bribery charge, Boone pleaded guilty to bank fraud for obtaining a $1 million loan from BB&T Bank, pledging dozens of properties as collateral for the loan, including vacant lots.

He also defrauded Fulton Bank to obtain a $13.2 million loan, providing false fraudulent documents and information to qualify for the loan, according to court documents.

The newest allegations involving Burfoot and Boone don't sit well with Burfoot's detractors. Robert Brown is part of a committee trying to get Burfoot removed from office. "The will of the people needs to be met. Mr. Burfoot needs to be removed from office," he said. Burfoot faces a recall hearing in January after his trial in November.

Boone is the husband of Judith Boone of Judy Boone Realty. The FBI executed a search warrant of Judy Boone Reality in June. She issued a statement about her husband's charges and guilty plea:

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.

Read the full court document by clicking here.