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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cocopard busted!

Infamous ex-CEO of company formerly known as Copar Quarries arrested for larceny
Arrest Blazer animated GIFBy Will Collette

Thank you to the several readers who e-mailed in the good news that Sam Cocopard, the Connecticut career criminal who ran the infamous Copar Quarries with operations in Westerly, Charlestown, Richmond and eastern Connecticut, was arrested by RI State Police.

Sun investigative reporter Dale Faulkner provided an initial report on this development in today's Sun.

Cocopard, and many of the other company principals including owner Phil Armetta, have long and colorful histories. Cocopard in particular has been convicted of numerous financial crimes. Click here and here and here and here for some of the juicy details.

Last year, the family of Phil Armetta, the long-time Connecticut trash tycoon whose money fuelled Copar's rise and expansion, took over operations of the controversial quarry operations, renaming it Armetta Sand & Stone. They fired Cocopard and instead named Michael Sparfven, another guy with a long state and federal criminal rap sheet.

The family also filed a civil lawsuit against Cocopard claiming that he had ripped off Armetta for between $11 and $12 million.

The judge in that civil action commented more than once that he was surprised the case was in civil court, and not a criminal matter. If you look at the rap sheets of the parties, though, you might come up with a reasonable theory about why Armetta didn't take this to the cops first.

But now that's where it is.

Perhaps there will be additional criminal action against the quarry operation involving other principals. As the case against Cocopard is prepared for prosecution, you gotta figure they're going to find other interesting activities.

I've been convinced for some time now that criminal prosecutions may be the most practical route that will give the long-suffering victims some relief. No offense intended toward the victim families who invested a lot of their own money in the civil litigation, but it never seemed like a workable strategy to sue a bunch of guys who have spent so much of their lives in court, both criminal and civil.

I do understand the victims' frustrations; they have long expressed their disappointment at the bumbling and hapless actions of the Westerly and Charlestown Town Councils.

They had been promised immediate legislative relief by new state Rep. Blake Filippi (I-wingnut) who apparently forgot his promise to introduce legislation to deal with Copar as soon as he was sworn in.