Misuse of pandemic-related federal funds
Connecticut State Representative Michael DiMassa is facing accusations that he stole over $636,000 worth of federal COVID-19 relief funds and used some of this money to gamble at a casino. FBI agents arrested the 30-year-old West Haven Democrat on Wednesday. He was presented at the US District Court in New Haven on wire fraud charges. DiMassas secured his release on bail through a $250,000 bond and faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.
DiMassa was in charge of overseeing the spending of emergency pandemic funds
DiMassa allegedly billed the city of West Haven over $636,000 for pandemic-related consulting services that were not performed. Along with two other city officials, DiMassa was in charge of overseeing the spending of emergency pandemic funds. The FBI statement outlined how withdrawals of portions of the alleged stolen funds seem to fit around the timeline of the politician’s cash buy-ins for tens of thousands of dollars worth of gaming chips at the Mohegan Sun casino.
Irregularities in city expenditures
Last week, details began to emerge that the FBI and West Haven Mayor Nancy Rossi’s administration were investigating irregular and large federal fund expenditures. Mayor Rossi said: “I have come across several large expenditures that have caused me great concern. Some of the expenditures appear improper and may be potentially fraudulent.”
Straight away after his arrest, DiMassa lost his leadership and committee assignments. Senate Republican leaders are now calling upon Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont to conduct an audit into the use of all COVID-19-related funds in order to restore the public’s confidence.
The FBI and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General for Investigations are leading the investigation into this matter. Assistant US Attorney Ray Miller is the chief prosecutor.
Finding his casino gambling
DiMassa allegedly defrauded the city of West Haven through false billings from the Compass Investment Group, created in January 2021. The alleged fraudulent billing and the COVID-19 Grant Department began the following month. Between February and September of this year, Compass Investment Group received $636,783.70 from the city.
bought in six times with cash at the Mohegan Sun casino for chips totaling $33,100
DiMassa made numerous significant cash withdrawals from the consulting company’s bank account during this time period, which included the instances that he bought in six times with cash at the Mohegan Sun casino for chips totaling $33,100.
DiMassa has been working for the City of West Haven for about a dozen years and his most recent role in his hometown was as the Administrative Assistant to the City Council. He is also an active Connecticut State Representative.