RI man sentenced to 16 years in invention scam

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A former Rhode Island art dealer has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for duping investors out of more than $6 million.

Prosecutors say the 58-year-old Rocco DeSimone convinced the investors to pour money into inventions he claimed major corporations had offered to buy for millions of dollars.

Prosecutors say DeSimone used his ill-gotten gains to fund a lavish lifestyle. He was convicted in March of money laundering and seven counts of mail fraud. Judge William Smith imposed the sentence Thursday in Providence.

DeSimone also has been ordered to pay more than $6 million in restitution.

Prosecutors say DeSimone deserved a stiff sentence because he is a career con man who stole from his victims and saddled them with “broken dreams, empty bank accounts, and untold distress.”