Nonprofit founder sentenced to serve 7 years in prison for embezzlement

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — A nonprofit founder convicted last year of embezzling more than $1 million from the organization was sentenced to prison Thursday.

Dan Doyle, 68,  who founded the Institute for International Sport three decades ago, was found guilty in December of all 18 counts he faced, including embezzlement, forgery, and obtaining money under false pretenses.

For the seven counts of embezzlement, Superior Court Judge Melanie Wilk Thunberg sentenced Doyle to 15 years with seven to serve at the ACI. He was also ordered to undergo evaluation for counseling.

Judge Thunberg said Doyle showed “shocking dishonesty and deceit” in what she called his “elaborate criminal enterprise,” which involved embezzling money from the nonprofit for personal expenses as small as runs to Starbucks and as large as cosmetic eye surgery, real estate in North Carolina and the private college tuitions of his three daughters.

Thunberg cited passages from Doyle’s own books touting the values of fair play when she made her decision. “How a man who wrote such thoughtful and inspiring words could so easily descend into moral bankruptcy is bewildering,” she said.

The organization’s money came from state grants and donors. It is no longer in operation.

“The Institute is gone because of the defendant’s greed, because of his arrogance, and because of his ego,” Assistant Attorney General Mark Trovato said.

Trovato acknowledged that the mission of the Doyle’s organization – which hosted the World Scholar-Athlete Games – was noble, but said Doyle’s actions were “selfish.”

Doyle, who did not testify at his trial, addressed the judge before she handed down his sentence. He did not apologize for his crimes.

“I’ve always tried to help and provide guidance to young people,” Doyle said. “I believe I have much to offer and much, much more to do in this life.”

The judge swiftly denied the defense’s request for a stay of the sentence, and Doyle was immediately taken to prison on Thursday.

Doyle also received prison time for the remaining 11 counts, which will run concurrently with the first sentence. He was also ordered to pay $550,000 restitution to the Hassenfeld Foundation. Former Hasbro chairman and CEO Alan Hassenfeld contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Doyle’s Institute for International Sport, and Doyle was convicted of forging Hassenfeld’s signature on a state document.

For five counts of forgery, Doyle was also sentenced to 10 years with five to serve. He also received a one-year suspended sentence for each of five counts of filing a false document.

Defense Attorney Kevin Bristow said after the sentencing that Doyle maintains his innocence.

“He believes he always acted in the best interest of the Institute and the mission of the Institute and he didn’t do anything criminal,” Bristow said. Doyle has maintained that all of his purchases were approved by the Institute’s board, including chairman Russell Hogg, and were a part of his salary and benefits.

Hogg, who was too ill to testify at trial, is listed as one of the victims in the case. His signature was also forged on documents.

Bristow said his team plans to file an appeal of the judge’s decision to deny the stay of Doyle’s sentence to the state Supreme Court on Friday.

Doyle filed a motion for a new trial back in March but that was denied by a judge.