LaSaracina attorney seeks to withdraw

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Mark Block, the Norwich attorney representing accountant F. Robert LaSaracina in several civil cases alleging fraud and default on LaSaracina's part, is asking the Superior Court for permission to withdraw as counsel, citing a potential claim that he has a conflict of interest.

In motions filed Thursday, Block seeks to withdraw from nearly a half-dozen cases in which he is representing LaSaracina and LaSaracina's business, F. Robert LaSaracina, CPA, LLC. The cases include two that stem from LaSaracina's alleged mishandling of a Norwich estate while serving as its trustee. In one, a conservator for one of the estate's beneficiaries accuses LaSaracina of malpractice and in the other LaSaracina is appealing a probate court judge's ruling that LaSaracina owes the estate $4.2 million.

Contacted Friday, Block indicated he had no comment on his request to withdraw.

Block, in the motion, writes that he has learned "of a potential claim or circumstance in which a conflict of interest may be raised and which would impair counsel's ability to represent the Defendant. While counsel may dispute and does object to the existence of such conflict, the continued representation of the Defendant has been compromised, making counsel's withdrawal appropriate."

Block's motion is scheduled to be heard May 9 in New London Superior Court.

Block also represents LaSaracina in suits filed on behalf of LaSaracina clients who claim the accountant fraudulently induced them to invest in an "undisclosed individual or business" that he never identified. The investors' claims total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

LaSaracina also faces federal criminal charges that stem from some of the same incidents. Freed on a $500,000 bond following his October arrest on mail fraud, wire fraud and money-laundering charges, he is scheduled to appear June 14 in U.S. District Court in Hartford.

Santos & Seeley, a Hartford firm, is representing LaSaracina in the criminal case.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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