Former Norfolk Sheriff Convicted of Public Corruption Charges
NORFOLK, Va. – A federal jury convicted a former Norfolk City Sheriff today on eleven counts, including conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud, honest services mail fraud, conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right, obtaining property under color of official right, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
“As the evidence at trial demonstrated, former Sheriff McCabe brazenly abused his position of power as an elected official and accepted bribes to enrich himself in exchange for granting city contracts,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The jury’s guilty verdict on all counts sends a strong message that government officials who corrupt their oaths and betray the community’s trust will be held accountable in the Eastern District of Virginia. We are deeply grateful to trial team, our law enforcement partners, and the witnesses who came forward to help bring this defendant to justice on behalf of the citizens of Norfolk.”
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Robert James McCabe, 63, who currently resides in West Palm Beach, Florida, engaged in illicit quid pro quo relationships with vendors while McCabe served as the Sheriff of the City of Norfolk.
Evidence presented at trial showed that, from 1994 through 2016, vendors provided McCabe with cash, travel, entertainment, gift cards, catering, personal gifts, and campaign contributions, in exchange for official actions that favored the vendors and their contracts with the Norfolk City Jail. These favorable actions included changing the terms of the contracts to favor certain companies, granting extensions and renewals, and providing inside bidding information. In exchange, ABL Management, Inc., the company that provided food services for the Norfolk City Jail, regularly provided free catering at the defendant’s home, for his annual golf tournaments, and for other political events. ABL’s former CEO also gave the defendant free trips – including a trip to the 2004 BCS National Championship game in Louisiana – and a ride in a glass-bottomed helicopter in San Francisco.
Evidence further demonstrated that the defendant met with one vendor at a hotel in Philadelphia where he received $6,000 in cash, which he described during his testimony at trial as a “loan.” However, the defendant never executed any loan documents, never made any payments on this “loan,” and never disclosed the existence of this “loan” on his Statement of Economic Interest forms. Evidence presented at trial also showed that, despite receiving a multitude of gifts from these vendors, the defendant never disclosed any of these items in his required campaign disclosures.
“Robert McCabe betrayed his oath to the citizens of Norfolk out of greed and self-interest. Instead of living up to his promise to serve the community, he abused his official position to serve himself,” said Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office. “There is no place in public service for this kind of self-dealing, and this case demonstrates the FBI’s continued commitment to rooting out and exposing public corruption.”
“Elected officials should be the standard bearers for the rule of law and be the model of integrity to their constituency. McCabe was neither. Instead, he used his position of public trust for personal enrichment,” said Darrell J. Waldon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-CI Washington DC Field Office. “We will continue to dedicate resources to investigate crimes of this nature to ensure those who exploit their powers are held accountable.”
McCabe faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count when sentenced on January 21, 2022. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Darrell J. Waldon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen accepted the verdict.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melissa E. O’Boyle, Randy C. Stoker, and Anthony Mozzi are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:19-cr-171.