Lowell state Rep. David Nangle is facing 28 federal charges for the “brazen” use of his office and lying to cover personal loans and gambling debts in what prosecutors called “a systematic pattern of theft and fraud.”
Nangle, 59, who earned $114,901 last year as one of House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s top lieutenants, is accused of raiding $70,000 from his campaign funds, lying to obtain nearly $400,000 in bank loans — all to help cover personal debts and gambling losses at New England-area casinos, feds say.
Nangle, a Democrat representing the 17th Middlesex District since 1999, was released from custody Tuesday after pleading not guilty at U.S. District Court in Boston to 28 counts including wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements and filing false tax returns. He paid a $25,000 bond and was ordered to not gamble.
“This was not a momentary lapse of judgement,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling told reporters Tuesday. “This was a systematic pattern of theft and fraud going back to at least 2014.”
Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston office, added Nangle’s “alleged misconduct, as outlined in this indictment, is brazen and wide-ranging.
“Let me be clear: this is not a case of mismanagement, sloppy accounting, or innocent mistakes. We believe this was a deliberate, yearslong attempt by Mr. Nangle to break the laws he was sworn to uphold,” Bonavolonta said.
The indictment states Nangle used his election committee funds to pay for nearly $6,000 in golf club charges, rental cars to travel to casinos, cash withdrawals, flowers for his girlfriend, and personal charges for which he was already receiving state reimbursements and gift cards.
Nangle also allegedly obscured the theft of campaign funds to his committee treasurer and lied on four bank loan applications he used to pay down debts, the feds said.
“Despite his salary and perks, Nangle was heavily in debt, had poor credit (with a credit score reported as low as 593), and had regular cash flow problems as a result of extensive gambling at various casinos,” the indictment states.
Feds say Nangle gambled at six casinos in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and placed thousands of bets on internet gambling sites.
Nangle was arrested at his Lowell home Tuesday morning by FBI and IRS agents. William Connolly, Nangle’s attorney, said outside the courtroom his client was aware of the investigation and will fight the charges.
“Dave Nangle is a good person,” Connolly said. “He has proudly served the people of his district.”
Nangle did not speak to reporters as he left the courthouse.
Prosecutors also said Nangle owed debts to two Massachusetts restaurants, including $87,000 to a Dracut catering business and $10,000 to a Salisbury eatery. Nangle was also allegedly paid a total of $27,000 for bogus “consulting” services by a Billerica company, and secured state funding for a Tyngsboro contractor for performing goods and services at his home for no cost, the feds said.
Five counts of tax fraud stem from Nangle’s alleged use of a “Lowell State Employee” between 2014-19 to file false tax returns.
Lelling declined to share his thoughts of Nangle’s indictment given his position on the House Committee on Ethics.
Nangle faces up to 30 years in prison on the bank fraud and false statement charges. He won’t be required to attend a status conference next month at federal court.