Hearing comes ahead of LaSaracina sentencing
Former Norwich accountant F. Robert LaSaracina defrauded 29 victims, prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed on Tuesday.
The agreement came as part of an ongoing series of hearings in advance of LaSaracina’s sentencing in federal court in Hartford. U.S. District Judge Christopher Droney has asked for concrete numbers on which to base the sentence and order for restitution.
LaSaracina pleaded guilty in July to charges of federal wire fraud and failure to pay employment taxes. Prosecutors said from 2001 to 2010, LaSaracina defrauded investors by telling them he had a “sure thing” and investments that would pay as high as 8 percent interest. Instead of investing the money, however, he used the funds for his own benefit, prosecutors said.
LaSaracina blames the crimes on a gambling addiction.
The total amount that LaSaracina stole from investors, a family trust fund and the government continues to be debated.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McGarry said Tuesday that 26 investors lost a total of $1,848,768. The Internal Revenue Service has determined it lost $734,359 in employment taxes LaSaracina never paid for his employees.
Topping the list of victims is the Kauppinen family trust, whose losses continue to be a source of argument and investigation. The Norwich Probate Court ordered LaSaracina to pay more than $4 million for his fraudulent use of the trust properties and funds. McGarry said the government estimates a $2.2 million loss to three victims, while defense attorneys Jessica Santos and Hubert Santos argue the loss is much less.
Despite the differences, Droney said Tuesday the total losses remain in the range of $2.5 million to $7 million, which, according to federal sentencing guidelines, places the proposed sentence in the range of 63 to 78 months in prison. Droney can impose a sentence of more or less than that number.
Sentencing has not been scheduled yet.
Both sides are expected to meet again during the next several weeks to discuss the trust fund losses further. Droney said he also will also accept further argument from defense on the effect that a gambling addiction might have on sentencing.
By Greg Smith, The Bulletin
Source: The Bulletin