Connecticut Politician Facing Jail after Blowing $636k Covid-19 Scam Funds in Casino2 months ago
A Connecticut politician who is accused of stealing $636,000 of pandemic funds and spending a chunk of it in the Mohegan Sun casino is facing 20 years in prison...
30-year-old Connecticut State Representative, Michael DiMassa, was arrested last week on a federal criminal complaint that sees him charged with one count of wire fraud.
DiMassa, who along with two others oversaw emergency pandemic funds for the city of West Haven, is accused of charging the city for more than $636,000 in fake consulting services.
A press release from the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut states that:
“In January 2021, DiMassa and another individual formed Compass Investment Group, LLC.” It then reveals that from “February 2021 through September 2021, the City of West Haven paid Compass Investment Group a total of $636,783.70,” the money coming from the city’s “COVID-19 Grant Department”.
The statement continues:
“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.”
DiMassa is alleged to have made six such buy-ins totalling more than $33,000.
The Mohegan Sun casino, in Uncasville, Connecticut on the banks of the River Thames, is operated by the Mohegan tribe, and are not believed to be involved in any way with DiMassa’s alleged wrongdoing.
DiMassa surrendered to law enforcement and appeared before U.S. District Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam in New Haven and was released on a $250,000 bond. It was reported that Judge Merriam “understands” that DiMassa is currently “in treatment” for a gambling addiction.
Di Massa is not alone in being accused of using the coronavirus pandemic to line his own pockets.
Just four months ago, 42-year-old Arkansas poker player, Billy Joe Taylor, was indicted for defrauding the US healthcare system of an eye-watering $88 million.
Known by the nickname “Bildo” and described as a “special kind of fish” in poker circles, Taylor is alleged to have created two shell companies supposedly operating as medical testing laboratories.
It is alleged that names and social security numbers were acquired of people who were eligible for government-funded tests - $42million of which were Covid related - and then fraudulent invoices were billed to Medicare.
Many of these people had already died when the alleged tests were supposed to have taken place, and names of doctors were used for tests that were never even requested.
Taylor is facing up to 5 years in prison and a massive fine, with Acting US Attorney David Clay Fowlkes stating:
“While the COVID-19 pandemic was raging, and Americans were suffering from the economic and health crisis brought on by this pandemic, these defendants were allegedly scheming to steal millions of dollars set aside to help ailing Americans through COVID-19 testing and other federal healthcare programs.”
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