Richmond Times-Dispatch

Ex-DMV official gets 28months in bribery scheme

- BY FRANK GREEN fgreen@timesdispa­ (804) 649-6340

The former program manager of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ motorcycle training program— who admitted to receiving cash and other considerat­ions from contractor­s — was sentenced Tuesday to two years and four months in prison.

Bruce Biondo, 65, of Mechanicsv­ille managed the Virginia Rider Training Program and was employed by DMV from 1988 to May 2018 when he retired several months after he was confronted by his wrongdoing. He pleaded guilty last February to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.

Federal sentencing guidelines called for a prison term of 30 to 37 months. The government asked U.S. District Judge David J. Novak to impose a 34-month sentence. Biondo’s lawyer, citing his client’s otherwise clean record and serious health problems, asked for a term of home detention.

In a sentencing memorandum, David Maguire, an assistant U.S. attorney, summarized the scheme: “From beginning at least in or about 2011, and continuing until in or aboutMarch 2018, Biondo admitted to receiving things of value, including approximat­ely $89,000 and the use of a Ford F-450 pickup truck for personal purposes.”

In exchange, Biondo performed official acts such as assisting one unidentifi­ed company in winning a contract worth $4.1 million for a five-year period and another company win a $135,000 training site contract.

“The nature and length of this offense was extremely serious and more than justifies a sentence of 34 months of active jail time,” Maguire wrote.

Biondo’s lawyer, Nia Vidal, wrote to Novak that “in realizing that he made a serious error in judgment in receiving money and gifts that he should not have, Mr. Biondo decided to amend his federal and state tax returns for the tax years between 2011 and 2017 to report the money he received.

“He filed these returns in April 2018, the very next month after being interviewe­d by law enforcemen­t. He now has significan­t federal and state tax debt,” reported Vidal.

Vidal also told Novak that Biondo suffers from multiple sclerosis, has significan­t hearing loss and several other health issues. His age and health problems also put him at great risk from COVID-19 if sent to prison.

Novak did not impose a fine Tuesday, but Biondo was ordered to pay $89,200 in restitutio­n to DMV.

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