Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOHN TRASACCO, 50, of West Haven, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Omar A. Williams in Hartford to 96 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy and fraud offenses related to a scheme to steal COVID-19 relief funds from the City of West Haven.
According to the evidence presented during a trial in this matter, Michael DiMassa was a Connecticut State Representative who was also employed by the City of West Haven, most recently serving as the Administrative Assistant to the City Council. In April 2020, the State of Connecticut was allocated money by the U.S. Department of the Treasury through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (“CRF”), which was established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) for the purpose of helping local governments pay costs incurred in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. From July 2020 through September 2021, the City of West Haven received approximately $1,150,257 in financial assistance from this fund. DiMassa, who was authorized to approve the designated relief funds for the reimbursement of COVID-related expenditures incurred by West Haven, conspired with others to steal these funds and other West Haven funds through the submission of fraudulent invoices, and subsequent payment, for COVID relief goods and services that were never provided.
The investigation revealed that DiMassa conspired with Trasacco through the submission of fraudulent invoices from L & H Company and JIL Sanitation Services, two companies controlled by Trasacco, to West Haven for goods and services, including thousands of units of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), HVAC maintenance at multiple municipal locations, COVID supplies for the Board of Education, and cleaning services for various municipal and school buildings, including one school building that had been vacant and abandoned for several years. Trasacco’s companies received approximately $431,982 through this scheme.
On December 2, 2022, a jury found Trasacco guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud.
Judge Williams ordered Trasacco to pay $143,994 in restitution.
Trasacco, who had been released on bond, was remanded to custody at the conclusion of today’s court proceeding.
On November 1, 2022, DiMassa pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He is awaiting sentencing and has agreed to pay restitution of $1,216,541.80.
On June 14, 2022, John Bernardo, a West Haven city employee who with Michael DiMassa formed a company that they used to bill the city for fraudulent COVID-related consulting services, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. On March 22, 2023, he was sentenced to 13 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay $58,927.25 in restitution.
On July 14, 2022, Michal DiMassa’s wife, Lauren DiMassa, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. On March 23, 2023, she was sentenced to six months of imprisonment and ordered to pay $147,776 in restitution.
This matter has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General for Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ray Miller and David Sheldon.
Individuals with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 are encouraged to report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.