A former Connecticut state representative was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Wednesday for stealing more than $1.2 million from the city of West Haven — most of it in federal coronavirus-related aid — and using a good chunk of it to fuel his gambling addiction.
“I stole that money. That is on me,” Michael DiMassa said as he apologized during his sentencing before Judge Omar Williams.
“It’s hard to find the word to express how I feel. I feel ashamed, embarrassed, mortified,” the West Haven Democrat said.
DiMassa, 32, had asked for leniency. He could have gotten more than four years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. He was ordered to report to prison on July 31 and remains free on bond.
“Mr. DiMassa suffered from a debilitating gambling addiction at the time of the offense,” his lawyer, John Gulash, wrote in a court filing, “and his essentially unfettered access to a deep pool of federal funds and total lack of impulse control facilitated his precipitous downward spiral.”
The lawyer compared DiMassa to Howard Ratner, the gambler played by Adam Sandler in the movie “Uncut Gems.” He said he bet on things as frivolous as how long the national anthem would take to perform at the Super Bowl, or what color Gatorade would be poured on the winning coach.
He did much of his gambling and betting at the Mohegan Sun casino in eastern Connecticut.
Approved ~ MJM