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A Connecticut state Representative is arrested and charged with COVID-19 relief fraud

Danielle Wedderburn

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Democratic State Representative Michael DiMassa of West Haven, Connecticut on Wednesday. He was charged with defrauding his city of more than $600,000 in federal COVID-19 relief money.

DiMassa has been a West Haven city employee for the past 12 years. The federal charges allege he formed a limited liability company in January and started billing the city’s COVID-19 Grant Department for consultancy services in the health department. His company had been paid more than $600,000 by September.

Federal authorities said DiMassa made large cash withdrawals from the company account to allegedly pay for game chips at the Mohegan Sun Casino.

He was arraigned before a U.S. District Court judge in New Haven and released on a $250,000 bond. He could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

State House Speaker Matt Ritter and Majority Leader Jason Rojas announced they immediately removed DiMassa from all committee and leadership assignments.

Republicans called on Governor Ned Lamont to audit all local COVID-19 relief spending for fraud.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.