West Haven Man Guilty of Role in Scheme to Steal City's COVID-19 Relief Funds
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a jury in Hartford federal court has found JOHN TRASACCO, 50, of West Haven, guilty of conspiracy and fraud offenses. The trial before U.S. District Judge Omar A. Williams began on November 21 and the jury returned the guilty verdicts this afternoon.
According to the evidence presented during the trial, 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.
The jury found Trasacco guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud. Each charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. A sentencing date is not scheduled.
Trasacco, who had been released on a $100,000 bond, was remanded to custody at the conclusion of today’s court proceedings pending his ability to meet his increased bond requirements.
On November 1, 2022, DiMassa pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud, admitting that he defrauded the City of West Haven of more than $1.2 million through this scheme and two other schemes. He awaits sentencing.
This matter is being 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.
Updated December 2, 2022