Sentencing is reset again in fraud case
The sentencing of Rollo Richard Norton II, a former Ramona-based financial planner who is believed to have defrauded his investors out of $20 million, was delayed again Aug. 3 and re-set for Nov. 2. Two former employees also had their sentencing delayed, including one who was charged for the first time in March.
Norton, 53, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in August 2007, but his sentencing has been repeatedly put off by both sides who cite there is an ongoing investigation. Norton’s attorney, Tom Warwick, wrote in a court document that his client is trying to come up with restitution for victims before sentencing.
A former employee, Todd Johnson, 36, of Ramona, pleaded guilty March 30 to making false statements on a loan application to a federally insured bank. He pleaded guilty at his first court appearance after charges were filed in March, and his sentencing was delayed until Nov. 9.
According to the charge, Johnson prepared a loan application in the names of two investors without their knowledge and inflated their incomes to get a loan to purchase condominiums in Pacific Beach in January 2005. He falsely stated they had their assets with the firm, Safe Harbor Financial Investments, which was also a company run by Norton.
Court records say Johnson made the false statements on the bank loan application to induce the bank to loan the money in what prosecutors described as “a sham purchase transaction” for a condominium. The couple whose names appeared as investors were apparently unaware of the loan application in their names.
Another former employee, Scott Greer, 32, of Ramona, had his sentencing delayed until Nov. 16. U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Huff set the new sentencing dates at the request of the attorneys.
Norton and Greer pleaded guilty to the same mail fraud count that mentions a Ramona couple who lost money in the condominium project in July 2004. Greer is believed to have played a lesser role in the scheme and is trying to come up with restitution.
Norton also did business under the name of Norton Financial Limited and applied for loans in the names of his investors in the condominium project, to their surprise. Norton signed other people’s names on grant deeds and other escrow documents, according to court records.
The maximum sentence all three men face is 30 years in federal prison, but a much lower sentence is expected, especially if they all come up with more restitution to victims.
Norton, now of Oceanside, remains free on $75,000 bond. Johnson and Greer remain free on $50,000 bond.
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