Former Roanoke adviser Jeffrey refused release, faces jail and restitution | Crime News

Former Roanoke City Councilman Robert Jeffrey Jr. faces a 22- to 57-month prison term when convicted later this summer of financial crimes that forced him out of office in March.

The length of time he could spend behind bars and an estimate of the extent of his repayment obligation were revealed at Monday’s bail hearing in which he was denied provisional release.

Assistant Commonwealth Solicitor Sheri Mason filed a document she said detailed unauthorized transactions totaling around $200,000 – half of cash withdrawals – and which authorities would seek a court order for Jeffrey to repay the money.

The preliminary figure is the first public account of the money he stole from the Northwest Neighborhood Environmental Organization, a Roanoke nonprofit where Jeffrey worked as a property manager. He pleaded guilty to embezzlement in March.

The newly filed list of transactions outlines unauthorized payments for utility, hotel and restaurant bills; building services; online services; and purchases at home improvement stores in 2020 and 2021. The cash out list contains 55 entries, the largest for $10,010 on July 10, 2020.

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Asked in court what Jeffrey did with the money, Mason said it was “hard to say”.

Jeffrey was jailed three months ago after a jury found him guilty of obtaining money under false pretences from the Roanoke Economic Development Authority. Later in the double victim case, he admitted to defrauding the NNEO. He is expected to be sentenced on August 22.

Virginia law declared Jeffrey’s council seat forfeited following his guilty plea.

Jeffrey’s attorney requested Jeffrey’s medical release and testified that 53-year-old Jeffrey suffered from advanced kidney disease and needed a transplant. Jeffrey had arranged to live with his wife and stepmother in Roanoke.

Evangeline Jeffrey, Jeffrey’s mother, testified that her son was “scheduled” for a transplant at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but missed his scheduled pre-op appointment in late March because he had just entered prison and now the procedure is “on hold”.

Mason said prison officials have made arrangements for continued medical care, including three dialysis sessions a week. Prison officials contacted a hospital in Richmond about the possibility of a transplant, she said.

Circuit Court Judge David Carson, in denying Jeffrey’s request for temporary release, noted that Jeffrey had been convicted of three felonies. Carson told Jeffrey that the court had dates available for his sentencing before August 22, including June 24, a previously scheduled sentencing date that was canceled due to his attorney’s illness.

Attorney Melvin Hill, who represented Jeffrey at Monday’s hearing, took over from Jeffrey’s former defense attorney, Jonathan Kurtin. Hill said in court that he was new to the case, needed time to prepare, and was working to be ready on August 22.

Carson has leeway in sentencing Jeffrey and will consult, but is not bound by, the sentencing advisory guidelines which have not yet been made public. Mason said his office made calculations based in part on the amount of money taken and predicted the directive would recommend a sentence between one year and 10 months and four years and nine months.

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