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Press Release

Renoir Painting, Custom Built Sports Car Seized From Convicted Con Man Sold At Auction For $740,000

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island
Funds To Be Applied Toward Restitution Payments To Victims Of Rocco DeSimone

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Renoir painting and a custom designed sports car seized from imprisoned Rhode Island con man Rocco DeSimone, 60, have been sold at auction for $740,000, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and U.S. Marshal Jamie A. Hainsworth. DeSimone was convicted by a federal court jury in Providence in March 2011 of bilking an inventor and numerous investors out of more than six million dollars in cash, property and forgiven debt.

In separate auctions administered by the U.S. Marshals Service, a Renoir canvas artwork entitled "Paysage a Cagnes" seized from DeSimone sold for $551,000; a custom built 2006 Ford GT sports car seized from DeSimone 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 United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha. “I am grateful to Marshal Hainsworth and the Marshal Service for their outstanding efforts to this end.  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.”

U.S. Marshal Jamie A. Hainsworth added, “The Marshal Service is entrusted with taking custody of and disposing of property seized by federal law enforcement and ordered forfeited by the court. With each item seized we look for creative ways to obtain the most beneficial return of proceeds. It is particularly gratifying in this instance that the proceeds of the auctions will be returned directly to some of the victims of Mr. DeSimone’s scams and crimes.”

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 which included worldly travel, high-end cars, valuable collections of art works and artifacts, falconeering, and other recreational events like jamming with the rock band Aerosmith.

DeSimone, who was convicted of seven counts of mail fraud and one count of money laundering, is currently 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. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lee H. Vilker and John P. McAdams. The matter was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation.

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Contact: 401-709-5357

Updated June 22, 2015