Judge delays sentencing in fraud case till Jan. 25
The prosecutor and defense attorney for Rollo Richard Norton II have agreed to delay his fraud sentencing until Jan. 25 because he has to testify in a civil case that is related to the former financial planner’s business that was located in Ramona.
Norton was supposed to be sentenced Nov. 2, but both attorneys agreed to the delay and U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Huff re-scheduled it until after the civil case is over. The former Ramona resident is accused of defrauding $20 million from investors.
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.
“This defendant is a witness in an ongoing civil matter in relation to this case and is required to testify in trial,” wrote Warwick.
“This civil trial was originally scheduled to be in November, however it was continued to December and is expected to conclude by the proposed sentencing date of Jan. 25, 2010,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Casper in a memo dated Oct. 29.
“Furthermore, defense counsel will not seek any further continuances in this matter,” wrote Casper.
Norton pleaded guilty to mail fraud in August 2007, and faces a maximum 30-year term in federal prison. In his plea, Norton admitted that he defrauded a Ramona couple who lost money in a condominium project in July 2004.
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 in March, and his sentencing may take place this week.
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 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.
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.
Norton, now of Oceanside, remains free on $75,000 bond. Johnson remains free on $50,000 bond.
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