Massachusetts Pol Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Including Using Campaign Funds for Gambling

Posted on: February 25, 2021, 08:12h. 

Last updated on: February 26, 2021, 10:26h.

An ex-Massachusetts state representative and House Ethics Committee chair pleaded guilty this week to 23 fraud charges.  His alleged schemes had him using campaign funds for personal use and other embezzlements. Some of the money allegedly went for gambling trips or online betting.

Nangle will be sentenced later this year
David M. Nangle shown here. The former Massachusetts politician and frequent gambler pleaded guilty to 23 charges this week. (Image: Sam Doran/State House News Service)

Following a plea deal, David M. Nangle, 60, of Lowell, Mass., now faces prison sentences and hefty fines. The specific sentence will be handed down by a Boston federal judge later this year.

Nangle allegedly redirected the money after mounting up debts in part from gambling at brick-and-mortar casinos and online gaming sites. He also allegedly redirected thousands of dollars in campaign funds to pay for rental cars used to drive to casinos, and for other personal expenses, such as for flowers for his girlfriend, gas, hotels, and restaurants.

He also allegedly hid gambling income received from a Connecticut casino. That includes over $1,200 in gaming winnings he had paid someone else to claim, according to the Lowell Sun newspaper.

Nangle’s Gambling Losses Estimated at Tens of Thousands of Dollars

Authorities have claimed Nangle lost tens of thousands of dollars gambling. Nangle also allegedly filed false tax returns between 2014 and 2018.

He additionally made false statements on loan applications by misstating his income and debts, prosecutors claim. Some of the funds from the loans were used to pay for gambling, prosecutors add.

Among the charges he pled guilty to in a virtual federal court hearing this week are 10 counts of wire fraud. He also admitted to four counts each of bank fraud and making false statements to a bank. In addition, he pled to five counts of filing false tax returns.

A single count of wire fraud can lead to a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a  $250,000 fine.

Bank fraud and making false statements to a bank each can lead to up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine.

Filing false tax returns can lead to up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $100,000.

US Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel scheduled Nangle’s sentencing for June 24. Nangle will not challenge any prison sentence of 30 months or less as part of the plea agreement, the Sun reported.

Nangle Lined His Own Pockets, Prosecutor Claims

“Elected representatives are expected to work for the benefit of their constituents, not to line their own pockets,” Massachusetts US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said in a recent statement.

“Mr. Nangle violated his obligations to the public by siphoning campaign dollars to cover the cost of his personal lifestyle, violating federal law and the trust placed in him by voters,”  Lelling added.

Between 1999 and 2020, Nangle represented the 17th District in the Massachusetts House. Nangle initially was arrested last February on 28 federal fraud and related charges. After his arrest, he pled not guilty to the 28 charges. Five charges were dropped under the plea agreement.