BOSTON (CN) — Massachusetts state Representative David Nangle was arrested Tuesday on federal charges that his golf club dues, his gambling habit and even flowers for his girlfriend all got greased with campaign dollars.
A Democrat from Lowell who sits on the House Ethics Committee, 59-year-old Nangle is represented by William Connolly. Neither the lawyer nor Nangle’s office have responded to requests for comment.
The indictment, which is dated Feb. 13 and was unsealed after Nangle's arrest Tuesday, says the lawmaker of 21 years was earning an annual salary of almost $100,000, while being able to expense meals, travel and lodging.
"Despite his salary and perks, Nangle was heavily in debt, had poor credit, and had regular cash flow problems as a result of extensive gambling at various casinos in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island," the indictment states.
In addition to 10 counts of wire fraud, the indictment charges four counts of bank fraud, nine counts of making false statements to a bank and five counts of filing false tax returns. Nangle is free on a $25,000 unsecured bond after pleading not guilty Tuesday afternoon.
Prosecutors say Nangle used his campaign committee’s debit card to buy thousands of dollars worth of gift cards, among other personal purchases. Nangle is also accused of filing false campaign spending reports to disguise his use of campaign funds for personal expenses, including gas, hotels, and restaurants, dues at a local golf club, rental cars for casino trips and flowers for his girlfriend.
The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Personal Finance requires that candidates file quarterly reports, but a 2019 annual report is the only document available for Nangle on the agency’s website Tuesday.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said the state body audited Nangle in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2016 based on concerns of financing irregularities.
"Throughout this activity he was aware that his use of funds was under scrutiny by the authorities," Lelling said Tuesday in a televised press conference.
The indictment further alleges that Nangle used a series of fraudulent bank loans since 2014 to crawl out of massive debt while also falsifying his tax returns.
Prosecutors say the scheme involved Nangle misstating his income and understating his debt among other false statements on loan applications.
For tax years 2014 to 2018, according to the indictment, Nangle reported fictitious business deductions on his tax returns for purported “consulting” work that he did for a Billerica company. Nangle also allegedly double-dipped on deductible expenses arising from his work as a state legislator, fraudulently claiming thousands of dollars in false deductions for alleged charitable donations.
Prosecutors say Nangle concealed the income he received through goods and services from business owners and other sources as well. This included $7,000 in kitchen and bathroom work done in Nangle’s home and $7,000 in check payments from a contractor; gambling income from a Connecticut casino; and thousands of dollars that he stole from his campaign account.
“We expect our elected officials to look out for our best interests. We do not expect them to trade on their positions of power for their own benefits," FBI agent Joe Bonavolonta said during the Tuesday morning press conference. "As alleged, Representative Nangle abused the trust of his constituents and contributors by using his campaign funds for his own personal use to sustain his gambling and to keep himself afloat financially after incurring tens of thousands of dollars in debt."
The bank fraud charges each provide for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.
Nangle won election to the state House in 1998. Following state redistricting, his region since 2003 has been known as the 18th Middlesex District.
In 2011, Nangle was among the majority of legislators who supported expanded gaming in the Bay State with a bill that allowed for the construction of three new commercial casinos. Then-Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill into law.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.