Former Bookkeeper Sentenced to 17 Months in Jail for Embezzling from Virginia Beach Law Firm
(Norfolk, Va) - Norma Blackwell, age 47, of Sebring, FL, was sentenced today in Norfolk federal court to 17 months in prison for embezzling $153,203.71 from a Virginia Beach law firm. Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after Blackwell was sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Robert G. Doumar. Judge Doumar also ordered Blackwell to pay $153,203.71 in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release following her imprisonment. Blackwell previously pled guilty on September 29, 2009 to committing mail fraud.
According to court documents, for approximately six years Blackwell worked as a bookkeeper at the Virginia Beach law firm of Shuttleworth, Ruloff, Swain, Haddad & Morecock, P.C. Beginning in April 2004 and continuing through July 2007, Blackwell defrauded and stole from the firm. Blackwell engaged in this fraud, in significant part, by manipulating the signing and issuance of numerous firm checks. Blackwell then mailed such checks to her family’s creditors. In addition to making payments for cruises and trips to Disney World, Blackwell used the law firm’s funds to make payments to Capital One, Card Services, Direct Merchant Bank, Exchange Credit, Home Depot, HSBC Bank, J.C. Penney’s, Juniper Bank, and Target. Blackwell also wire transferred and deposited stolen funds into a family member’s account at a local credit union. To hide her fraud, Blackwell then made false entries in the firm’s books and records. As a result of this misconduct, the law firm suffered losses of approximately $153,203.71.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Krask prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.