Sentencing for Rollo Richard Norton II, a former Ramona-based financial planner who is believed to have defrauded his investors out of $20 million, was quietly delayed from Feb. 2 to May 4 in U.S. District Court in San Diego.
Norton, 53, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in August 2007, but his sentencing has been repeatedly delayed by attorneys on both sides who cite “an ongoing investigation.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Casper and defense attorney Tom Warwick signed a joint motion in January that requested delay of the sentencing. The motion cited the “ongoing investigation” and that “additional time (is needed) to develop information relevant to sentencing and restitution.”
Judge Marilyn Huff delayed the sentencing at their request without a court appearance. Norton, who reportedly moved to Oceanside several years ago, remains free on $75,000 bond.
The sentencing of one of Norton’s former employees, Scott Greer, 32, of Ramona, has been delayed until May 11. Greer remains free on $50,000 bond. Both he and Norton pleaded guilty to the same mail fraud count that mentions a Ramona couple who lost money in a condominium project in July 2004.
It is possible that federal officials may be seeking indictments against others in the same scheme, such as bankers or people who could have known about the fraud. Testimony before a federal grand jury is sealed and not public record.
Norton did business under the names of Safe Harbor Financial Investments and Norton Financial Limited. He solicited investors for a condominium project in Pacific Beach. A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office said at the time that he “mismanaged” the project before it ultimately failed.
Norton applied for loans in his investors’ names without their knowledge. Norton signed other people’s names on grand deeds and other escrow closing documents, to the surprise of his clients, according to prosecutors.