BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Massachusetts State Rep. David Nangle was arrested and faces dozens of charges for alleged campaign finance violations, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling announced.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, Lelling said Rep. Nangle, 59, used $70,000 in campaign money for personal expenses like golf club dues, rental cars, gas, hotels, restaurant bills, and gift cards; defrauded a bank in order to secure $300,000 in loans to pay his deep gambling debts; and hid thousands of dollars of income from the IRS.
"Corruption can be easy and tempting for state-level elected officials, but here, State Rep. Nangle went beyond that," Lelling said. "This was not a momentary lapse of judgement, or a technical foul. This was a systematic pattern of theft and fraud, going back to at least 2014."
Nangle, who has represented the 17th Middlesex District since 1999, was taken into custody without incident at his Lowell home hours before the press conference. The full charges against him include 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.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges, and was released on unsecured bond Tuesday afternoon. The judge ordered him not to leave Massachusetts, not to change his residence or phone number, to surrender his passport, and to refrain from gambling.
A press release from Lelling's office alleged Nangle "was heavily in debt" and "gambled extensively at area casinos and online," using campaign funds to pay off that debt in addition to paying for personal trips, meals, and even flowers for his girlfriend.
Lelling's office said Nangle was aware this practice was illegal, and tried to conceal it by filing false reports.
Authorities said Nangle bought gift cards that he claimed were for his staff, but instead used them on himself.
Starting in 2014, Lelling said, Nangle misstated his income and understated debts on loan applications to pay off money from his gambling habit. Nangle also allegedly filed false tax reports from 2014 to 2018, claiming deductions for "consulting work" he never actually did, and for charitable donations he never actually made.
"This is not a case of mismanagement, sloppy accounting, or innocent mistakes," said FBI Boston Branch Special Agent in Charge Joseph Bonavolonta. "Simply put, 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."
Lelling also said Nangle didn't report thousands of dollars of income to the IRS—including Connecticut gambling winnings and the money he took from his campaign.
Rep. David Nangle. (Massachusetts Legislature)
In addition, Lelling said Nangle was engaging in quid pro quo.
"Nangle also received services from private area businesses that he did not pay for, including work by a Tyngsboro contractor on Nangle's kitchen, bathroom," Lelling said. "That contractor was later awarded lucrative bids on construction projects, for which Nangle had received state funding."
"Obviously there are serious charges, and I anticipate that they'll be fully investigated by the U.S. Attorney," Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said when asked about Nangle Tuesday afternoon.
Officials pointed out that Nangle is alleged to have committed the financial crimes while on the Massachusetts House Ethics Committee, at one point serving as its chairman.
"We expect our elected officials to look out for our best interests," Bonavolonta said. "We do not expect them to trade on their positions of power for their own benefit. But today, State Representative David Nangle is accused of doing exactly that."
Nangle's defense attorney called his client a "good man" who has proudly served his district, and that he will fight all of the charges against him.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports