Writing business

Check writer in Stonecrest relief fund scandal gets 6 months in jail

Explore“Deplorable”: the ex-mayor of Stonecrest receives 57 months in prison

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr. handed down the sentence — which also included six months house arrest and a total of three years probation — in an hour-long hearing that ended a another chapter in the scandal that rocked DeKalb County’s most recent. and the biggest city.

Boone, the wife of Stonecrest’s former director of economic development, had previously pleaded guilty to the single count of federal program theft, which was brought against her in November. 2021.

His involvement in the disreputable saga began about a year before that.

After the city received about $6.2 million in DeKalb County’s allocation of federal CARES Act money, then-Mayor Lary ordered Stonecrest to put a third, the relatively new non-profit Municipal Resources Partners Corporation. (MRPC), in charge of its distribution.

Boone was hired as a consultant for MRPC, a job that involved keeping the books and writing checks to people who asked for help.

As small businesses applied for funds through the relief program, they were asked if they would be willing to redirect 25% of their grants to companies that would help market their business. Many said yes.

These alleged marketing companies were shams, prosecutors said. And they were controlled by Lary.

With Boone signing the checks, Lary was eventually able to pocket more than $924,000 in relief funds – money that, instead of helping local churches, businesses and workers, went to pay off his own tax debts of the mayor and the mortgage on his house by the lake.

Boone herself made the $108,000 wire transfer that completed the lake house transaction.

In exchange for his efforts, prosecutors said, Lary used about $7,600 of his own ill-gotten funds to help cover a semester’s tuition and rent for Boone’s college-aged son.

At Friday’s hearing, Boone and his attorney, Deana Timberlake-Wiley, asked for a sentence without jail time.

Boone is her elderly mother’s sole caretaker, they said, and her own type 1 diabetes makes her particularly vulnerable to the worst outcomes of COVID-19. Prison and prison inmates are at higher risk of infection with the coronavirus.

Thrash declined.

“I think a strong message needs to be sent that anyone who steals federal COVID relief funds will go to jail,” he said.

The split sentence, which also ordered Boone to repay the money she received from Lary, mirrored what prosecutors had previously recommended.

It is also much lighter than the one Lary received.

The former mayor was sentenced in July to spend almost five years in prison and to pay approximately $120,000 in restitution. The authorities had already recovered most of the embezzled money.

Lary is due to report to jail sometime after December 15, an arrangement meant to allow him to continue treatment for his ongoing battle with prostate cancer.

Boone was also not taken into custody after her sentencing hearing. She will be visiting on an unspecified date.

“I’m so sorry,” Thrash told Boone on Friday, “that you got involved with such a dishonest and corrupt city official as Mr. Lary.”