When the pandemic hit, governments raced to hand out stimulus money. The federal government issued stimulus checks and state governments raked in all sorts of taxpayer-funded cash.
Given the sheer amount of money that flew through the nation, it’s not surprising to find some fraud. This has involved several high-profile politicians and lawmakers, too.
Now, a member of the Connecticut State Legislature has just been arrested.
Democratic State Rep. Michael DiMassa has officially resigned as Connecticut Secretary of State, and he’s stepped down from his role as an aide to the City Council of West Haven.
Normally, it takes a lot for a high-ranking politician to voluntarily resign from their titles.
In this case, though, the accused didn’t have much choice: DiMassa is accused of defrauding the city out of a big chunk of change. And it was all supposed to go for COVID-19 relief.
The result is federal charges and even if he gets off lightly, it still means his political career in the state is likely over.
Unsurprisingly, Connecticut residents are probably livid. Not only is this an elected official, but that’s money that was supposed to help the state during an extremely difficult period.
Instead, he allegedly cheated them out of hundreds of thousands. Via The Daily Wire:
A Representative in the Connecticut State Legislature has resigned from his office after being arrested on federal criminal charges of defrauding the city of West Haven of over $600,000 of COVID relief funds.
He is accused of defrauding the city out of more than $630,000 dollars in federal funds that had been earmarked for COVID-19 relief.
It seems DiMassa helped found a consulting firm called Compass Investment Group, LLC in January.
Then that company sent a big bill to the city of West Haven’s “COVID-19 Grant Department” for consulting services. Except the problem is, those consulting services never happened.
As the statement reads:
From February 2021 through September 2021, the City of West Haven paid Compass Investment Group a total of $636,783.70.
It is further alleged that 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.
So in other words, DiMassa took the money and gambled it away at the casino. At least, that’s how it appears to authorities.
The FBI got involved quickly and according to the investigating agent, checks ranging from about $12K to over $87K were deposited into the Compass Investment Group, LLC’s business account.
Then Rep. DiMassa made 21 cash withdrawals on that money, ranging from $8K to $10K. The total came to $178,150.
The affidavit cited other examples of DiMassa making big cash withdrawals and then using it at the Mohegan Sun. Obviously, this doesn’t look good for DiMassa, who faces jail time.
Said West Haven Mayor Nancy Rossi:
If 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.
If convicted, all individuals involved should go to jail.
Connecticut State House Speaker Matt Ritter and Majority Leader Jason Rojas said DiMassa had been stripped of his committee assignments. This came shortly after his arrest.
TRENDING : Texas House Initiates A Major Investigation – They Just Launched Probe Into Cleaning Up School Libraries
They also added that “the citizens of West Haven and all of Connecticut deserve honest government.”
Sadly, that isn’t what the citizens got in this case (again, allegedly). The evidence does appear damning, however, and it looks like another sad example of political corruption.