A Renoir painting and a custom-designed sports car seized by the federal government from imprisoned Rhode Island con man Rocco DeSimone have been sold at auction for $740,000.
DeSimone had been convicted by a federal court jury in Providence of bilking an inventor and numerous investors out of more than $6 million dollars in cash, property, and forgiven debt.
In separate auctions administered by the U.S. Marshals Service, the Renoir canvas, entitled “Paysage a Cagnes,” that had been seized from DeSimone was sold for $551,000 and a custom-built 2006 Ford GT sports car that had been seized from DeSimone was sold for $189,000. The proceeds of the auction will be applied toward court-ordered restitution by DeSimone to the victims of his scams.
“It is rare that the victims of remorseless, recidivist con men like the defendant ever receive restitution of any kind,” said U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. “Perhaps during his long years ahead in federal prison, the defendant can reflect on the fact that someone else is driving the fancy car and admiring the expensive painting he once enjoyed while looting the bank accounts of others.”
At trial, the government presented evidence that DeSimone convinced numerous investors to invest a total of $6,030,145 in cash, property, and forgiven debt by making false representations regarding the sale and/or marketing of three inventions developed by two inventors: the Drink Stik, an invention designed to allow individuals wearing protective gear to drink fluids without having to remove the gear; the Song Tube, designed as an improved version of a gastrointestinal medical tube; and the Disk Shield, a protective shield for compact discs and DVDs. The government’s evidence showed that DeSimone used the money to fund a luxurious work-free lifestyle that included worldly travel, high-end cars, valuable collections of art works and artifacts, falconeering, and other recreational events such as jamming with the rock band Aerosmith.
DeSimone, who was convicted of seven counts of mail fraud and one count of money laundering, currently is serving a sentence of 192 months in federal prison. At sentencing, DeSimone was ordered to pay restitution to his victims in the amount of $6,030,145.
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