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Disgraced Virginia Sheriff Gets 12 Years for Bribery and Corruption

by Ashleigh N. Dye

On May 19, 2022, the federal court for the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced former Norfolk Sheriff Robert McCabe, to 12 years in federal prison for his role in a jail bribery scheme that went on for more than two decades. A jury convicted McCabe in August 2021 of taking bribes to steer jail contracts to vendors in a “pay to play” scheme from 1994 until 2016. [See: PLN, Mar. 2022, p.1.]

The former CEO of one of those vendors, jail healthcare provider Correct Care Solutions — now Wellpath — was also convicted in the scheme. Gerard Francis “Jerry” Boyle, 67, pleaded guilty in October 2021 to a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. He was sentenced by the same court to a three-year federal prison term on February 28, 2022. Boyle was also fined $35,000 and forfeited $2.7 million in his plea deal.

McCabe was convicted on 11 charges that included conspiracy, honest services mail fraud, obtaining property under color of official right, and money laundering. Convictions on all charges carried an aggregate penalty of 200 years in prison. The prosecution asked for 20 years.

During McCabe’s sentencing hearing, character witnesses spoke on his behalf, including a cousin who grew up with McCabe and is now a bishop in the Anglican Union Church who serves as McCabe’s priest. During their weekly talks, he said McCabe acknowledged he made a mistake. Judge Arenda Wright Allen corrected him; what McCabe did was not a mistake, she said, but a crime.

For steering jail contracts their way, McCabe accepted over 193 bribes from vendors in cash, travel, campaign contributions, and personal gifts. Judge Allen called the conspiracy both “sophisticated and intricate.”

In January 2022, McCabe’s attorneys asked for a competency hearing for their client, after the 63-year-old was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. But the Court denied that request the following month, noting the issue was never raised at trial and that McCabe had actively and ably participated in his own defense. See: United States v. McCabe, USDC (E.D. Va.), Case No. 2:19-cr-00171. 

Additional sources: Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, WAVY, WRIC

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