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2 More Arrests in West Haven COVID-19 Funds Probe

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Federal investigators made two new arrests in the ongoing probe into the misuse of COVID-19 relief funds in West Haven.

The new arrests are connected to the investigation into former state representative Michael DiMassa and how he distributed the federal funds in 2021.

DiMassa, who was also a West Haven city employee, and a second city employee, John Bernado, were arrested in October.

Federal prosecutors say DiMassa gave more than $600,000 to Compass Investment Group, LLC between February and September 2021 for consulting services that were never performed, according to prosecutors. Compass Investment Group, LLC was set up in January 2021 by Bernardo.

On Friday, federal authorities arrested John Trasacco and Lauren Knox amid their ongoing investigation.

Prosecutors allege Knox and DiMassa submitted multiple requests for payment from the City of West Haven for services related to a youth violence prevention program.

Knox and DiMassa are married, according to federal authorities.

The invoices listed charges for in-home counseling, cleaning supplies, special needs hourly service, wifi assistance for low and moderate-income families, counseling services, license fees, a fall youth clinic, and more.

West Haven issued 16 checks to Knox totaling approximately $147,776.10. According to prosecutors, Knox would cash the checks and then deposit a portion of the money into her personal bank account. In one instance, Knox deposited the entire amount of the check into her personal account, prosecutors said.

Knox never provided any services to West Haven, according to prosecutors.

The indictment also lists an alleged conspiracy between DiMassa and Trasacco involving West Haven City funds.

According to prosecutors, DiMassa approved funds to be paid to two companies controlled by Trasacco for services including thousands of units of personal protective equipment, HVAC maintenance at multiple city locations, COVID supplies for the Board of Education, and cleaning services for various municipal and school buildings. One charge was for cleaning a school building that had been vacant for several years, prosecutors said.

In all, West Haven paid the companies controlled by Trasacco $431,982 for services that were never performed, according to prosecutors.

Knox and Trasacco appeared in federal court in New Haven Friday. Knox was relased on $50,000 bond and Trasacco was released on $100,000 bond.

DiMassa and Bernardo are also both facing new charges connected to the new indictments.

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