Former state Democratic Rep. Michael DiMassa exits the federal courthouse in Hartford after pleading guilty to three federal conspiracy charges.

Michael DiMassa, a former state Democratic lawmaker, admitted to stealing more than $1.2 million from the city of West Haven on Tuesday, but taxpayers in Connecticut should not expect him to repay that money any time soon.

During a hearing in federal court, DiMassa pleaded guilty to three separate conspiracy charges, which were filed against him and three other defendants earlier this year.

In doing so, DiMassa, 31, acknowledged his role in a scheme that diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money out of West Haven, where he served as an executive assistant to the city council.

The plea agreement that DiMassa signed with federal prosecutors will allow him to avoid a federal jury trial, which was scheduled to begin this month.

But the charges that DiMassa pleaded guilty to are likely to carry a prison sentence of several years and could require him to pay millions of dollars in restitution and potential fines.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Raymond Miller, who has led the criminal case against DiMassa, said federal sentencing guidelines, which are based on several factors, recommends a prison sentence of between 41 months to 51 months.

Miller also explained that the federal court could require DiMassa to repay all or part of the money that was taken from West Haven and could levy an additional fine of up to $2.4 million against the former lawmaker, which is double the amount of cash DiMassa allegedly helped to divert out of the city’s bank accounts.

It’s ultimately up to Omar Williams, the federal judge in the case, to decide how much time DiMassa will serve behind bars and how much money he is required to repay following his sentencing.

DiMassa, who will remain out of prison while he awaits his sentencing hearing, declined to comment as he exited the federal courthouse in Hartford, several blocks from where he once served as a state lawmaker.

But DiMassa’s attorney, John Gulash, made it clear during the hearing on Tuesday that his client will be unable to immediately repay most of the money.

During the hearing, the judge asked Gulash whether any of the money that was allegedly stolen by DiMassa and his three co-defendants had been set aside to repay the city.

Gulash said those funds were gone, and he told the judge that DiMassa would only be capable of repaying “a relatively modest amount” during his sentencing.

Two of DiMassa’s co-defendants, including his wife and another former West Haven employee, also pleaded guilty to federal charges in recent months.

As a result, they could also be ordered to repay part of the illegal profits gained through the alleged conspiracies.

The other defendant in the case, John Trassaco, has yet to reach a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors offered Trassaco a deal, according to recently filed court records, but he has not accepted that offer yet.

Trassaco and his attorneys are instead preparing for a jury trial, which is scheduled to begin on Nov. 21.

Avatar photo

Andrew joined CT Mirror as an investigative reporter in July 2021. Prior to moving to Connecticut, Andrew was a reporter at newspapers in North Dakota, West Virginia and most recently South Carolina. He’s covered business, utilities, environmental issues, the opioid crisis, local government and two state legislatures. Do you have a story tip? Reach Andrew at 843-592-9958