Lawyer: Man charged in rip-off missed court docket as a result of he is lifeless

MILFORD, Conn. (AP) — A man charged with running a scam that cheated a woman out of more than $80,000 missed a recent court date and was supposed to be rearrested, but his attorney says that will be impossible because his client has been dead for months.

Johnny Masesa’s attorney told state’s attorneys in June that he received a death certificate saying his client died from complications of malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he has family. The Connecticut Post reported police and federal authorities have been unable to confirm the authenticity of the death certificate.

Masesa and others are charged scamming a Connecticut woman out of $83,000 by posing as representatives of the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes. The woman told authorities someone called her and said she was in the running for a prize but needed to transfer money in order to claim it. Some of the money wound up in an account under Masesa’s name, according to authorities.

The 45-year-old Masesa was arrested in 2019 and pleaded not guilty, and posted a $25,000 bond using a Florida address, the Post reported. He was scheduled in court on Nov. 4 but didn’t appear. Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Howard Stein told the newspaper the death certificate was written by hand and appeared to have several spots where corrections were made with correction fluid.

Stein said he didn’t suspect attorney Douglas Rudolph of wrongdoing, and Rudolph said he has been unable to reach the doctor listed on the death certificate, the Post reported.

Judge Peter Brown ordered Masesa rearrested and held on $100,000 bond if he appears. Masesa’s two co-defendants have court dates scheduled.

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