|Rhode Island Art Dealer Gets 16 Years in Invention Scam |
Rocco DeSimone, a Rhode Island native and former art dealer convicted of tax evasion after selling a painting by impressionist Claude Monet. DeSimone is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, July 21, 2011, in U.S. District Court in Providence by Judge William E. Smith. AP Photo//U.S. Marshals.
By: Laura Crimaldi, Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, RI (AP).- A former Rhode Island art dealer convicted of defrauding a wide range of investors from a wealthy Japanese sword collector to a school janitor was sentenced to 16 years in prison Thursday for his elaborate multimillion-dollar scheme. Judge William E. Smith imposed the sentence on Rocco DeSimone, 58, of Johnston, in U.S. District Court in Providence.
Prosecutors said DeSimone deserved a stiff sentence because he is a "career con man" and criminal who bilked his victims of more than $6 million, saddling them with "broken dreams, empty bank accounts, and untold distress."
"Justice was served today. Rocco DeSimone is a remorseless, recidivist thief," said U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha. "He deserves every day of the 16 years he was sentenced to today."
DeSimone was also ordered to pay more than $6 million in restitution and sentenced to three years of supervised release following his prison term.
Defense attorney Thomas Connors had asked for a lesser sentence. But he noted that Smith did not impose the stiffer sentence of 17½ years that prosecutors sought.
"We expected it was going to be a heavy sentence," Connors said. "I think the judge was fair with what he had to deal with."
DeSimone was convicted in March of money laundering and seven counts of mail fraud. Prosecutors say he used his ill-gotten gains to fund a lavish lifestyle of fancy cars, valuable art works and ancient Japanese swords.
The trial focused on an invention called the Drink Stik, a device that connects beverage containers to respirators and gas masks worn by soldiers in contaminated areas.
Prosecutors argued that DeSimone lied about access to deep-pocketed investors and promised the inventor he would sell the Drink Stik in exchange for a one-third stake in its patent. They say DeSimone then convinced investors to buy shares in his Drink Stik stake by falsely claiming that major international corporations, including Fidelity Investments and Raytheon Corp., had offered to buy it for millions of dollars.
Prosecutors told the jury he employed similar tactics to fraudulently solicit investments in two other inventions, including one in which he had no ownership stake at all.
Defense attorneys countered that DeSimone's accountant, who had a financial interest in the inventions, handled his business dealings. They also questioned the reliability of many of the witnesses against DeSimone, whom they said had money to gain from seeing DeSimone convicted. Several of them have filed a separate lawsuit against him.
On June 30, Smith issued a preliminary forfeiture order on assets DeSimone acquired through his scheme. The items include a 2006 Ford GT sports car valued at $180,000, a painting by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir known as "Paysage a Cagnes," an antique arrow quiver and nine Japanese swords. The government intends use the assets to partially compensate the victims.
DeSimone was convicted in a separate tax fraud case in 2005. While serving his sentence for that conviction, he briefly escaped from a minimum-security prison in New Jersey in 2008, after he learned that FBI agents had raided his house in connection with the Drink Stik investigation.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
July 22, 2011
British Realist Painter Lucian Freud, Famed for His Nudes, has Died Aged 88
Archaeologists Uncover Biblical Ruin Inside a Palestinian City in the West Bank
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Uses Computer Models to Study Exoplanet Auroras
Aldourie Castle in Scotland Announced as Winner of The Historic Houses Restoration Award 2011
Metropolitan Museum Announces Highest Attendance in 40 Years: 5.68 Million
First Dorothea Rockburne Retrospective on View at Parrish Art Museum
Five International Buildings Shortlisted for the Prestigious RIBA 2011 Lubetkin Prize
Group Exhibition of Artists Explores the Influence and Effects of Control Mechanisms on the Human Body
Philadelphia Museum Acquires Major Works by Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, and Cassatt
Art Gallery of Ontario to Present Major Pablo Picasso Survey Exhibition in 2012
Harry Ransom Center Says Iconic 'Gone With the Wind' Dress Faded Forever
Archaeologists Unearth Skull of Japanese Pilot Who Fought in Historic Attack of Pearl Harbor
Wende Museum's Cold War Visual Archive to be Subject of Major Taschen Book
Rhode Island Art Dealer Gets 16 Years in Invention Scam
Experts to Catalog South Indian Temple Treasures
New York City Fire Truck Lowered Into 9/11 Display
Smithsonian's National Postal Museum Receives Donation for the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery
Henry Luce Foundation Grant to Advance Scholarship on Tibetan Painting Awarded to Rubin Museum
Saint Mary's College of California to Expand Hearst Art Gallery
Pavilion of Art & Design London Announces More Details
Good Doctor's Suits of Armour Make 782,508 in Sell Out Auction At Bonhams
Exhibition of Flower Drawings at Fitzwilliam Museum Explores the Legacy of Redouté
artnet Auctions Announces Important Selection of 20th Century and Contemporary Design
Connie Wolf Appointed Next Director of Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University
Royal Institute of British Architects Stirling Prize 2011 Shortlist Announced in London
Christie's Announces Global Art Sales Total $3.2 Billion in the First Half of 2011
Rare Early Marilyn Monroe Images, First Time at Auction, Offered by Heritage Auctions
Prado Displays Caravaggio's Entombment of Christ, on Loan from the Vatican Museums
Auction of Mike Mitchell's Beatles Photographs He Took as a Teen Soars Over $300,000 at Christie's
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Native American masks sold in Paris to be returned to tribes by The Annenberg Foundation
2.- National Gallery of Art presents The Dying Gaul: An ancient Roman masterpiece
3.- Landmark exhibition of Chinese contemporary art opens at Metropolitan Museum of Art
4.- Remains of a 900 year old estate that has a fountain in its garden were exposed in Ramla
5.- Robert L. Oswald, Brother of Lee Harvey Oswald Disputes Last Week's Sale of Coffin
6.- Christie's Auction of Magnificent Jewels offers an Internally Flawless Golconda diamond
7.- Marc Chagall work in German art trove was Nazi-looted: reports German tabloid Bild
8.- $16 million gold Mao statue unveiled in China to commemorate his 120th anniversary
9.- First exhibition to explore the impact in America of Sorolla opens at Meadows Museum
10.- Christie's preliminary appraisal for City of Detroit delivered to the Emergency Manager of the City of Detroit
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|