BOSTON (WPRI) — A Massachusetts state representative was arrested at his Lowell home Tuesday morning and charged with illegally using tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal expenses.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling announced federal charges against Rep. David Nangle, D-Lowell, which also included defrauding a bank to secure loans to repay debts and collecting income that he failed to report to the IRS.
Nangle, 59, was indicted on 10 counts of wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, nine counts of making false statements to a bank, and five counts of filing false tax returns.
Nangle has been an elected member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives for more than 20 years, serving the 17th Middlesex District. He’s also a former chair of the House Ethics Committee.
According to Lelling, the indictment says Nangle misused at least $70,000 over a period lasting several years. Lelling said the charges go back at least five years but “there are indications the activity predates 2014.”
The indictment alleges Nangle spent that money using a debit card and “also tried to hide his misuse of funds by first buying gift cards purportedly for his staff, and then using him for his own personal expenses.”
“Rep. Nangle used the power of his position on Beacon Hill to fund a lifestyle out of his reach, unwittingly financed by those who put him there while also cheating the taxpayers,” said FBI Boston Division Special Agent in Charge, Joseph Bonavolonta.
According to the indictment, “despite his salary and perks,” Nangle was heavily in debt and had poor credit along with “regular” cash flow problems as a result of “extensive” gambling at casinos in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire in addition to placing thousands of bets on internet gambling sites.
The indictment claims Nangle also used the money to pay for “various personal expenses” including dues at a local golf club, rental cars to travel to and from casinos, flowers for his girlfriend, gas, hotels, and restaurants.
Nangle’s attorney, William Connolly, released a statement Tuesday saying his client is a “good man who has proudly represented his district as a State Representative.”
“The charges in this case are nothing more than allegations,” Connolly wrote. “We will fight the charges in court.”
Court documents say Nangle knew using campaign funds for personal use was prohibited and subject to oversight by an independent state agency. He allegedly concealed his theft by filing false reports to disguise the personal nature of the spending, according to the documents.
Lelling alleges from at least 2014, Nangle devised a scheme to get bank loans which involved making false statements on loan applications, misstating his income and understating his debt.
The indictment adds that Nangle filed false tax returns from 2014 to 2018 by reporting fictitious business deductions for so-called consulting work he did for a Billerica, Mass. company.
According to the Department of Justice, the wire fraud charge carries a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000; bank fraud and making false statements to a bank each carry a possible sentence of up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million; filing false tax returns carries a potential sentence of up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $100,00.
The Massachusettes House Speaker Robert DeLeo released a statement saying the allegations against Nangle are troubling.
“Representative Nangle has been a friend and colleague for over 20 years,” DeLeo said. “Never once during that time did I have any inkling that he had a gambling problem, much less a gambling problem as extensive as what has been reported today.”
The statement goes on to say the House of Representatives will continue to cooperate fully with the United States Attorney’s investigation.
Nangle pleaded not guilty in federal court in Boston on Tuesday.