Former Connecticut State Representative Granted Second Delay in Prison Sentence for Embezzling COVID Relief Funds

Screen shot of Rep. Michael DiMassa addressing constituents in a 2019 video

A federal court judge has granted a second request to postpone the prison sentence of former Connecticut state representative Michael DiMassa. DiMassa, along with his wife Lauren Knox DiMassa, pleaded guilty to charges related to a conspiracy to embezzle over $1.2 million in COVID relief funds from the city of West Haven. The delay will allow DiMassa to care for their newborn baby until his wife’s release from prison later this year.

Judge Omar A. Williams has rescheduled DiMassa’s surrender date to December 4, extending his 27-month prison sentence. DiMassa had initially been expected to self-surrender on July 31 but was granted permission to travel to Texas to return the couple’s newborn child to Connecticut. DiMassa’s attorney, John Gulash, argued that the new surrender date would allow enough time for Lauren DiMassa to return home before Michael reports to a federal prison in Lompoc, California.

Federal prosecutors did not object to the postponement of DiMassa’s surrender date. In addition to the prison sentence, DiMassa has been ordered to pay $856,844.45 in restitution. Prosecutors alleged that DiMassa and a co-defendant, John Bernardo, fraudulently billed West Haven for COVID-related work that was never completed. DiMassa also spent over $50,000 on casino chips at Mohegan Sun, according to court documents.

Lauren DiMassa began serving a six-month sentence in May and has since given birth while incarcerated in Texas. Her release date is expected to occur no earlier than November 11. Both DiMassas and Bernardo pleaded guilty to the charges, while a third defendant, John Trasacco, received an eight-year prison sentence after being found guilty of one count of related wire fraud.

The postponement of Michael DiMassa’s prison sentence aims to minimize the potential consequences of both defendants being unavailable to care for their newborn baby.

 

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

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