A Killeen man accused of stealing more than $2 million from his former employer has entered two plea deals, according to courthouse officials.
Norman Kott, 69, signed a plea Sept. 2 that waived his protection against self-incrimination and pleaded guilty to theft in an amount of $200,000 or more. As the written plea agreement states, Kott seeks a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, with the possibility of earning shock probation through good behavior while behind bars.
He would also be forced to pay $1 million restitution up front in the form of money and property. That restitution is due the day of sentencing, which is scheduled for Nov. 4.
He also entered a plea in a separate criminal case regarding the embezzlement, in which he has been charged with the misappropriation of fiduciary funds or financial property.
The owner of 195 Lumber on South Fort Hood Street came to police in March 2014 with the complaint that Kott had stolen $2.2 million from the company, where he worked as the chief financial officer for 19 years. His embezzling went back as far as 2009, according to the original complaint.
The discrepancies in accounts were noticed after an accountant hired by 195 Lumber uncovered large amounts of money missing and covered up in the computer system. According to this accountant’s report, Kott took an outside business’ check and credited that company’s personal account with the money. He would then place the check in the company’s “point of sale” account, and withdraw the same amount of money to balance the previous amount. He also owned outside businesses that bought goods from 195 Lumber, then wrote goods off as being paid while at work, even though neither he, nor anyone with his company, ever penned a check.
The report found that there was over $200,000 stolen in 2013 alone. The thefts happened on a weekly basis, and began in 2009.
Kott was able to get away with this because his job put him in charge of both accounts receivable and accounts payable, and he had access to the computer records, according to the accountant’s report.
When Kott was confronted about the missing money by his employer, he responded that the 195 Lumber owner was “looking into things too much.” He then left the company, but not before contacting the software company and asking for the files from 2005-2010 to be deleted. The software company held on to the data out of suspicion.
If his plea goes through, Kott has the chance to be out of his 10-year prison sentence in just six months. Shock probation allows the judge to temporarily send a defendant to jail in hopes that the experience will scare the felon from ever committing another crime. It’s a method most often used by a judge when the defendant is a first-time felon.
The judge has jurisdiction over the case for 180 days, but can then suspend the sentence and place the defendant on community supervision if it is believed that the defendant will no longer benefit from imprisonment.
Kott has no other known felonies.
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