Feds: Lowell state rep. used campaign funds for personal expenses, trips to casinos

BOSTON (WHDH) - A longtime Massachusetts state representative was arrested on dozens of federal charges at his home in Lowell on Tuesday morning, officials said.

State Rep. David M. Nangle (D-Lowell), who has served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1999 and sits on the House Committee on Ethics, was arrested by special agents on a slew of charges, including allegations that he illegally used campaign funds.

The 59-year-old was indicted Tuesday in federal court in Boston 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, United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling announced. Nangle pleaded not guilty.

“He 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 agent Joseph Bonavolonta.

Nangle, who represents the 17th Middlesex District, which includes Lowell and a part of Chelmsford, was allegedly heavily in debt, had poor credit (with a credit score reported as low as 593) and had regular cash flow problems due to extensive gambling at casinos in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

In order to stay afloat financially, federal prosecutors say Nangle illicitly used campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, defraud his bank lender, and collect income that he failed to report to the IRS.

Nangle allegedly used campaign funds to pay for Lowell Golf Club dues, rental cars to travel to casinos, flowers for his girlfriend, gas, hotel, and restaurant charges, gifts cards for his personal use, and to withdraw cash.

In January 2015, Nangle reportedly applied for a home mortgage loan from Lowell Bank and blamed his ex-wife for his bad credit, claiming that he had loaned her money that she didn’t pay back, when, in fact, he hadn’t loaned her any money and had lost thousands of dollars at casinos in Connecticut months before the closing.

Nangle filed false tax returns from 2014 to 2018 by reporting fictitious business deductions for purported “consulting” work that he did for a Billerica company, according to the indictment.

Nangle allegedly claimed thousands of dollars in false deductions for alleged charitable donations. Federal prosecutors say Nangle claimed to have bought $11,000 in “couches, TVs, tables, chairs, and dinnerware” that he later donated to charity, though the charity denied ever receiving a donation.

He also allegedly concealed the income he received through goods and services from business owners and other sources, including $7,000 in kitchen and bathroom work done in his home and $7,000 in check payments from a contractor, in addition to gambling income from a casino.

“The allegations against Representative Nangle are serious and troubling and, if true, represent a significant betrayal of the public trust. I was shocked and disappointed to learn of his indictment this morning,” said Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. “Representative Nangle has been a friend and colleague for over 20 years. Never once during that time did I have an inkling that he had a gambling problem, much less a gambling problem as extensive as what has been reported today.”

Nangle had nothing to say after he was released by U.S. Marshals after his indictment. In a statement, Nangle’s attorney William Connolly said “David Nangle is a good person. He has proudly served the people of his district as a state representative. These charges are only allegations, and we will fight these charges in court.”

This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest details.

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