U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
July 21, 2011
RHODE ISLAND “CAREER CON MAN” SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON; RECOVERED ASSETS TO BE USED TO COMPENSATE VICTIMS
Rocco DeSimone convicted in March of bilking investors and others
out of $6M in cash and property
Providence, R.I. – A federal court judge today sentenced convicted Rhode Island con man Rocco DeSimone, 58, to 192 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha. DeSimone was convicted in U.S. District Court in Providence in March 2011 for bilking numerous investors from around the United States out of more than $6 million dollars in cash and property by making false representations regarding the sale and/or marketing of three inventions.
DeSimone used the money he bilked from would be investors to fund an exotic, work free lifestyle filled with fancy cars, valuable art works, ancient Japanese swords; and fanciful tales of falconeering, African safaris, jamming with the rock band Aerosmith and elephant hides buried in his backyard.
At the request of the Government, DeSimone has been ordered to make restitution to his victims in the amount of $6,030,145. The Court entered a Preliminary Forfeiture Order on June 30, forfeiting numerous assets DeSimone gained through his schemes including a 2006 Ford GT sports car valued at $180,000, a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir known as "Paysage a Cagnes" and nine Japanese swords. The Government intends to utilize the forfeited items toward compensation to the victims for their losses.
U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “Justice was served today. Mr. DeSimone is a remorseless, recidivist thief, who deserves every day of the sixteen years imprisonment he was sentenced to today. It is my hope that today’s long sentence brings some semblance of comfort to Mr. DeSimone’s victims, many of whom parted with their life saving after being caught in his web of lies.”
DeSimone escaped from a minimum security facility in New Jersey in March 2008 after he learned that federal agents had executed a search warrant at his Johnston, R.I., home in connection with this case. He was about to complete a federal prison term for tax fraud when he escaped from prison. He surrendered in Rhode Island three days later.
During a two week trial in March 2011, evidence was presented that DeSimone’s schemes involved the 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.
Evidence was presented that DeSimone falsely represented to the Drink Stik inventor that he personally knew the CEO of Fidelity Investments and that he had agreed to purchase the invention for $264 million dollars. DeSimone also falsely represented to potential investors that Fidelity, Raytheon and/or Tyco International had offered to purchase the rights to the Drink Stik for millions of dollars, and obtained about $1.2 million in funds and $4.9 million in forgiven debts and other property, including expensive art work and valuable Japanese artifacts and swords.
Evidence was also presented at trial that DeSimone convinced the physician-inventor that he could successfully market the Song Tube gastrointestinal device in exchange for an ownership interest. The inventor subsequently assigned the product patent to a company in which DeSimone had a 34 percent ownership.
Prosecutors also presented evidence that DeSimone solicited investments in the Disk Shield by falsely representing that he owned the right to market it. DeSimone fraudulently represented that Nintendo, Inc. and SONY, Inc. had offered millions of dollars for the Disk Shield, when neither company had made such an offer.
Testimony also showed that DeSimone made several false representations about marketing campaigns for the Drink Stik and Song Tube to a California investor, who subsequently wired about $600,000 to a bank account held in the name of Rocco DeSimone’s wife.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. McAdams and Lee H. Vilker.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations conducted the investigation.