A federal prosecutor announced on Tuesday that a prominent Massachusetts state lawmaker was arrested and charged with using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses and for falsifying loan applications to pay for his gambling sprees.
State Rep. David M. Nangle (D-Middlesex) entered a plea of not guilty on 28 charges in a US District courtroom in Boston Tuesday. The US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts claims Nangle was deeply in debt and gambled both online and at area casinos. He’s alleged to have used his political campaign fund to pay for gift cards he personally used, for rental cars to drive to casinos, and for flowers to his girlfriend.
The indictment claims Nangle filed false tax returns from 2014 to 2018 by making up deductions for purported consulting work. Since 2014, he’s also made false statements on loan applications by misstating his income and debts.
Funds from the loans were then used to pay for gambling activities, the US Attorney’s office alleges.
Nangle has served in the Massachusetts legislature since 1999 and one time served as the statehouse Ethics Committee chairman.
This was not a momentary lapse of judgment or a technical foul,” said US Attorney Andrew Lelling in a press conference Tuesday. “This was a systematic pattern of theft and fraud, going back to at least 2014. Nangle accomplished it in part using people close to him.”
He was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond. However, US District Judge M. Page Kelly restricted Nangle’s travel to only within Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Nangle must also avoid going to casinos and other gaming establishments as well as gambling online, in lotteries, or through other similar methods.
Gambling Losses Allegedly Fueled Illegal Spending
According to the indictment, despite his salary – which according to Massopenbooks.org was $107,500 in 2017 and $107,548 in 2018 – Nangle had cashflow issues due to his extensive gambling habit at two Connecticut casinos, two New Hampshire casinos, and a casino in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. He also placed “thousands of bets” on online gaming sites.
Authorities claim Nangle lost tens of thousands of dollars gambling.
Despite not having any opposition for his seat since January 2013, Nangle raised hundreds of thousands in campaign funds, the indictment states. That allowed him to maintain his gambling fix by using campaign funds for personal expenses.
After being arrested on Tuesday morning, he reported to the Boston courtroom in handcuffs as TV crews and reported followed him.
In a statement to reporters after Nangle’s arraignment, lawyer William Connolly said his client was a good man who “proudly represented” his district.
“The charges against David are nothing more than allegations,” Connolly said. “We will fight these charges in court.”
Faces 30 Years in Prison
The 59-year-old lawmaker faces 10 counts of wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud, nine counts of making false statements, and five counts of filing false tax returns.
The wire fraud charges carry prison terms of up to 20 years and fines of $250,000. The bank fraud and false statement charges can carry prison terms of up to 30 years and a fine of $1 million. The false tax return accusations can carry prison terms of up to three years and a $100,000 fine.
A status conference is set for March 19. However, on Tuesday, Kelly signed an order allowing for a delay in starting the trial to give both sides a chance to share discovery and prepare their cases.