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Con Art Dealer on Trial for Fraud

Spring is in the air. What could be better than a trial of an art dealer convicted of tax fraud?! The Associated Press reported that the former art dealer from Rhode Island, Rocco DeSimone, stands trial for mail fraud beginning Mar. 2, 2011. DeSimone was convicted of tax fraud in 2005 but has pleaded not guilty to mail fraud and other charges in the case.

Reportedly, DeSimone’s defense attorneys declined to deliver an opening statement.  According to the ArtDaily “John McAdams, an assistant U.S. Attorney, told a jury in U.S. District Court in Providence that DeSimone convinced acquaintances and others to invest in inventions he said major international corporations, including Nintendo and Sony, had offered to buy for millions of dollars.  “He made false promises and outright lies to get their money,” McAdams said. “He took their money, and he spent it.”

Prosecutors say in an indictment that he used the money to buy sport utility vehicles, several centuries-old Japanese swords, a 1915 painting by French Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir and “one Japanese scroll painting of an eagle sitting on a branch.”