Court records dated Tuesday reveal that more than $1.2 million in COVID relief monies were used to play at a casino by a Democrat who was caught in Connecticut for stealing federal dollars when he was a state representative.
According to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, Democratic Representative Michael DiMassa was accused of stealing money from the Connecticut city of West Haven and has been charged with three counts of wire fraud conspiracy. DiMassa reportedly collaborated with his wife Lauren, who the news release claims received just under $148,000 for services she allegedly never rendered.
“Michael DiMassa and his former business partner, John Bernardo, allegedly created Compass Investment Group, LLC, in January 2021 to fraudulently bill the city’s health department for consulting services totaling $636,783.70, according to to the DOJ news release. These services were allegedly not performed. Michael also allegedly submitted fraudulent invoices with another suspect to the city for goods and services related to the pandemic and received approximately $431,982.” according to local Connecticut news.
“BREAKING NEWS: Former #Connecticut state Rep. Michael DiMassa pleads guilty in theft of $1.2 million in #COVID19 aid” According to News 12 CT,
— News12CT (@News12CT) November 1, 2022
In accordance with a Justice Department press release:
State Representative and Former West Haven Employee Admits Stealing COVID Relief and Other City Funds
Michael DiMassa, 31, of West Haven, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges today before U.S. District Judge Omar A. Williams in Hartford, according to an announcement made by Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Christina D. Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
DiMassa was a Connecticut State Representative who also worked for the City of West Haven, most recently as the Administrative Assistant to the City Council, according to court documents and testimony given in court. The Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), which was created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to assist local governments in paying costs associated with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, was given money to the State of Connecticut in April 2020. The City of West Haven got roughly $1,150,257 in financial aid from this fund between July 2020 and September 2021. DiMassa conspired with others to steal these funds and other funds belonging to West Haven by submitting false invoices and receiving payment for COVID relief goods and services that were never delivered. DiMassa was given the authority to authorize the designated relief aid for the reimbursement of COVID-related expenses incurred by West Haven.
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
In one scheme, DiMassa conspired with John Bernardo, who was employed by the City of West Haven as a Housing Specialist in the office of Community Development Administration. In January 2021, DiMassa and Bernardo formed Compass Investment Group, LLC. Beginning in February 2021, Compass Investment Group LLC fraudulently billed the City of West Haven and its “COVID-19 Grant Department” for consulting services purportedly provided to the West Haven Health Department that were not performed. From February 2021 through September 2021, the City of West Haven paid Compass Investment Group a total of $636,783.70. DiMassa made several large cash withdrawals from the Compass Investment Group LLC bank account, some of which were made shortly before or after he was recorded as having made a large cash “buy-in” of gaming chips at the Mohegan Sun Casino.
DiMassa also conspired with his now wife, Lauren DiMassa, through the submission of numerous fraudulent invoices to West Haven for services related to a Youth Violence Prevention Program and for Youth Violence COVID-19 Associated Expenses. These invoices listed charges for in-home counseling, cleaning supplies, special needs hourly service, wi-fi assistance for low/moderate income families, counseling services, license fees, a fall youth clinic, meals, support group supplies, equipment rental, and youth clinic support group.. CONTINUE READING…