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Former State Representative Michael DiMassa to Begin Federal Prison Term for Embezzling Over $1.2 Million

05 Dec 2023, Jail News, by

Michael DiMassa is expected to start a prison term for defrauding West Haven by stealing $1.2 million in COVID-19 relief funds.

Former State Representative Michael DiMassa to Begin Federal Prison Term for Embezzling Over $1.2 Million - Inmate Lookup

Former State Representative and West Haven city employee Michael DiMassa is set to begin serving a federal prison sentence on Monday for stealing over $1.2 million from the city of West Haven, the majority of which came from federal aid for coronavirus-related programs.

DiMassa’s sentence includes a minimum of two years in prison and five years of supervised release.

After he pleaded guilty on Nov. 1, 2022, to three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, DiMassa is scheduled to surrender on Dec. 4. A judge postponed his sentencing from its original July 31 start date so that he could travel to Texas to give birth to his child. Following the baby’s birth, he assumed the role of caretaker.

His spouse, Lauren DiMassa, entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiring to conduct wire fraud on July 14, 2022, following her arrest on February 18, 2022. According to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in prison for her role in her husband’s scheme to embezzle COVID-19 relief funds from the City of West Haven.

According to the Bureau of Prisons website, she started her sentence on May 23 and was supposed to be released on November 11. However, she was released on October 20.

According to the U.S. Attorney, from July 2020 to October 2021, Michael DiMassa submitted fraudulent invoices to West Haven for a youth violence prevention program and COVID-19-related youth violence expenditures.

West Haven made 16 payments to DiMassa during this period, totaling $147,776.10. The detailed invoices list charges for cleaning supplies, in-home counseling, special needs hourly service, licensing fees, meals, Wi-Fi assistance for low- and moderate-income families, equipment rentals, and a fall youth clinic. The prosecutors said that the DiMassas never rendered any services to West Haven.

Lauren DiMassa was mandated to make a restitution of $147,776.10, while Michael DiMassa agreed to pay a restitution of $1.2 million.

In January and February 2021, Michael DiMassa and John Bernardo, a housing specialist in West Haven’s Office of Community Development Administration, actively formed Compass Investment Group, LLC. The company then fraudulently billed the City of West Haven and its “COVID-19 Grant Department” for services that were not carried out, according to federal prosecutors.

Between February 2021 and September 2021, Compass Investment Group received payments exceeding $636,000 from the City of West Haven, with federal officials disclosing that John Bernardo received a portion of the funds.

After pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge, Bernardo was sentenced to 13 months in prison. The judge mandated restitution of $58,927.25 and is scheduled to be released in 2024.