Sunday, December 4, 2022

Former West Haven finance director testifies on falsified invoices

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WEST HAVEN — Frank Cieplinski, town’s former finance director of three years who was terminated within the aftermath of a scandal stemming from a former state consultant’s theft of greater than $1 million in federal pandemic reduction funding, testified Tuesday about how he may have missed all of it.

Cieplinski was the federal government’s eighth witness within the trial for John Trasacco, a contractor who’s alleged to have obtained $431,982 from West Haven by way of two corporations he controls for items and providers he didn’t present to town.

Former Democratic state Rep. Michael DiMassa has pleaded responsible, admitting to submitting and signing the cost vouchers for fraudulent invoices to Trasacco’s corporations L & H Firm LLC and JIL Sanitation Options LLC. His responsible plea to a few counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud additionally covers his function in related schemes performed in partnership along with his now-wife, Lauren DiMassa, and former metropolis worker John Bernardo. Lauren DiMassa and Bernardo every have pleaded responsible to at least one rely of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A jury trial for Trasacco, who had pleaded not responsible, started Monday.

Cieplinski, who was the one witness to testify all through the 7.5-hour scheduled trial date Tuesday, affixed his signature to vouchers for cost that have been based mostly upon fraudulent invoices, together with invoices made out to Compass Funding Group, a shell firm with DiMassa and Bernardo as principals.

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