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Canadian Citizen Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 20 Years in Prison in Connection with $7 Million Advance-Fee Fraud Scheme

U.S. Attorney’s Office July 12, 2013
  • Southern District of New York (212) 637-2600

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today that David “Jim” Norman was sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 20 years in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud victims across the country out of millions of dollars. As part of the scheme, Norman promised victims huge guaranteed returns on investments to be paid out of overseas bank accounts that in reality did not exist. Following his extradition from Canada in November 2011, Norman was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in January 2013, after a six-day jury trial. U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest presided over the trial and sentenced Norman today.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “By promising huge returns on their investments, Jim Norman induced scores of victims from around the country to give him millions of dollars. As proven at trial, his promise was nothing more than a shameless scheme to steal hard earned money from the victims, some of whom lost their entire life savings and even their homes. With today’s sentence, Norman will pay the price for his fraud and the suffering that he has caused his victims.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos said, “As the jury found, Jim Norman used fast talk and the lure of easy profits to separate credulous investors from their money. The promissory notes he issued were as fraudulent as the rest of his scheme. The immediate results were ill-gotten gains for Norman and devastating losses for his victims. The endgame for Norman is a lengthy prison term.”

According to the evidence presented at trial, beginning in 2004 through his arrest in Canada in December 2009, Norman told victims that, as part of the “Jim Norman Program,” he was seeking investors to help pay fees to secure the release of hundreds of millions of dollars held in bank accounts in Spain and Switzerland. Norman, along with his co-conspirators in the United States who helped lure victims into the scheme, stole at least $7 million from more than 100 victims by promising them huge returns on their investments—that would be paid in a matter of days or weeks at most—and by giving victims official-looking, but worthless, “promissory notes” that purportedly guaranteed their investments and return. In reality, there were no overseas accounts, and Norman and his co-conspirators spent the victims’ money on themselves by making large retail purchases and withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. As a result of the fraudulent scheme perpetrated by Norman, some victims lost all their assets, others lost their homes, and others lost their businesses.

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In addition to the prison term, Judge Forrest sentenced Norman, 64, of Toronto, Canada, to three years of supervised release. Norman was also ordered to forfeit $2,197,637 and pay $1,731,805 in restitution, in addition to a $100 special assessment fee.

Mr. Bharara praised the FBI for its outstanding work on this case.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew Goldstein and Andrea Surratt are in charge of the prosecution.

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