NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Democratic State Rep. Michael DiMassa of West Haven was arrested on a federal complaint Wednesday for allegedly defrauding the City of West Haven of more than $630,000.
DiMassa, 30, allegedly formed Compass Investment Group, LLC with another person in January 2021. Beginning in February, federal prosecutors said 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, according to court documents.
Federal prosecutors also allege DiMassa made several large cash withdrawals from the Compass Investment Group LLC bank account, some of which were made just before or after he was recorded as having made a large cash “buy-in” of gaming chips at the Mohegan Sun Casino.
DiMassa faces one count of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years.
He was released on a bond of $250,000 following his court appearance Wednesday. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 10.
DiMassa’s arrest comes as the FBI investigates the city’s possible misuse of $1.2 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds.
“I’m not going to comment on the case at all,” Attorney John Gulash said.
In a statement, West Haven Mayor Nancy Rossi (D) said, in part, “If Rep. DiMassa broke the public’s trust and his oath to protect and serve his constituents and is found guilty of fraudulent activity, I am demanding that he and any other individual(s) involved be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
DiMassa was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in November 2016 to represent the 116th Assembly District of West Haven and New Haven. He has been a City of West Haven employee for about 12 years and has most recently served as the administrative assistant to the City Council.