Norton sentenced to more than 8 years for embezzlement

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

BIRMINGHAM – A 46-year-old Alabaster woman will spend the next eight and a half years in federal prison, and must pay more than $300,000 in restitution after she was sentenced recently for embezzling money form her Alabaster employer.

Norton

In early March, U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced Rebecca Ann Norton to 102 months in federal prison, followed by 60 months of supervised probation after she is released from prison.

Coogler also ordered Norton to pay $69,856 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, a total of $329,662 in restitution to the eight entities affected by her embezzlement scheme and ordered her to not “seek or obtain any employment which allows her access to financial accounts or personally identifying information of other individuals or entities during her term of supervision.”

A federal grand jury returned the indictments against Alabaster resident Rebecca Ann Norton in July 2016, charging her with 30 counts of bank fraud, 12 counts of aggravated identity theft, three counts of filing false tax returns and one count each of misusing a Social Security number and witness tampering.

On Sept. 29, 2016, Norton pleaded guilty to three counts of bank fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of tampering with a witness, one count of misusing a Social Security number and one count of filing a false tax return. The remainder of her charges were dropped as a result of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Norton worked as an office manager for an Alabaster company from August 2013 to August 2015, where she allegedly “used a variety of methods to fraudulently take the $328,000 from bank accounts held by” the company.

“Norton committed aggravated identity theft by using personal identification information of several other individuals to facilitate her fraud, according to the indictment. It also charges that once Norton knew she was under federal and state investigation, she tried to contact two of her victims to convince them not to pursue criminal charges against her,” read a Department of Justice statement. “The superseding indictment also charges that, between 2011 and 2012, Norton drew unemployment benefits from the State of Alabama under another person’s Social Security number, thereby misusing that Social Security number and committing aggravated identity theft against that person.

“Finally, the superseding indictment charges that Norton filed false federal income tax returns for 2010, 2013 and 2014 by underreporting her taxable income during each relevant year,” the statement read.

Norton originally was charged with second-degree possession of a forged instrument and one felony count of first-degree theft of property in Shelby County, but those charges were dropped after the federal charges were brought against her.

Norton has appealed her case to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta, claiming “improper representation by failure to represent properly and failure to provide discovery.”