TRENTON – A con man who eluded authorities for 13 years before his arrest last June in Las Vegas was sentenced to state prison Friday for conspiring with a business partner to defraud investors in New Jersey of more than $1 million in the early 1990s.
Douglas D’Arpino, 64, formerly of New York, was sentenced to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Eugene H. Austin in Bergen County. He pleaded guilty on Jan. 3 to a second-degree charge of conspiracy. Under the plea agreement, D’Arpino must pay restitution of approximately $510,000, representing his share of the funds stolen by him and his partner, R. Steven Stackpole. Stackpole, 72, was sentenced to six years in state prison in 1998 in connection with the scheme.
Stackpole formerly operated an investment and insurance company called Stackpole Designs Agency in River Edge, Bergen County. A state investigation revealed that between 1989 and 1994, Stackpole conspired with D’Arpino to get clients of his company who had retirement and investment accounts to invest a total of approximately $1.9 million in various fraudulent schemes. One scheme involved “wishing wells” that the defendants claimed would be placed in malls to collect money for a charity that published information about missing children. A number of wishing wells were placed in businesses, but no money was provided to the charity.
D’Arpino and Stackpole promised a 15 percent rate of return to investors. In reality, they charged investors undisclosed fees of up to 20 percent and diverted investors funds for their personal use. Of the $1.9 million in invested funds, approximately $500,000 was returned to investors as “dividends.” The remaining $1.4 million was stolen. Some investors lost their life savings. The investors included several firefighter associations.
D’Arpino, who had been using the alias Paul D. Martin, surrendered to authorities in Las Vegas on June 10, 2010.
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