Rep. Nangle arrives in federal courtroom in handcuffs and shackles, pleads not-guilty

Lowell state Rep. David Nangle, second from left, leaves the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston Tuesday following his arraignment.
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BOSTON — State Rep. Dave Nangle shuffled out of a federal courtroom in handcuffs on Tuesday, ankle shackles clinking between his dress shoes, following his arraignment on more than two dozen charges, including the alleged use of campaign funds for personal expenses.

Hours after he was arrested at his Belvidere home by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Nangle pleaded not guilty to 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.

Click here to read the copy of the indictment

The federal indictment outlined during a press conference by U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office alleges the 59-year-old state representative undertook a number of illegal schemes to fund a lifestyle beyond his means and cover up gambling debts.

Rep. Dave Nangle’s fundraisers always attracte top state politicians. At his annual steak and lobster event at Lenzi’s in Dracut in September 2018, Nangle shares the spotlight with Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.

“This was not a momentary lapse of judgment or a technical foul,” Lelling said. “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.”

Magistrate Judge Page Kelley ordered Nangle, also a former House Ethics Committee chairman, to be released on a $25,000 unsecured bond with several conditions.

The Lowell Democrat is barred from gambling while on pretrial release. He is also forbidden from traveling outside Massachusetts, except for brief trips to Hampton, N.H., which his attorney said are necessary to care for his girlfriend’s dogs. Kelley ordered Nangle to turn over his passport within 48 hours.

His attorney, William Connolly, read off a written statement to reporters outside the courtroom.

Rep. David Nangle’s home on Trull Lane, in Lowell’s Belvidere neighborhood.

“Dave Nangle is a good man who has proudly represented his district as a state representative,” Connolly said. “The charges against David are nothing more than allegations. We will fight these charges in court.”

He declined to comment further. When exiting the courthouse, Nangle, who was no longer handcuffed, did not respond to questions.

The investigation into Nangle was referred to the FBI by another agency in November 2017.

“After conducting dozens of interviews and reviewing thousands of documents we found that he engaged in an elaborate and deliberate attempt to hide his alleged illegal activity by providing false, misleading and incomplete information to his campaign committee, his bank, the IRS and the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance,” said Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Field Division, during the mid-morning press-conference.

“Time after time he allegedly used campaign funds to pay for personal expenses spending thousands of dollars on golf club fees, gas gift cards, hotels, restaurants, flowers and rental cars for trips to casinos, some of which he had already been reimbursed for by taxpayers,” Bonavolonta continued.

The indictment includes allegations that Nangle used his campaign committee’s debit card as well as gift cards to make thousands of dollars in personal purchases.

“Based on the indictment, as to Representative Nangle’s campaign funds, it appears that over the years he has stolen over $70,000 of those funds for personal use,” Lelling said. “Nangle spent that money using a debit card, but also tried to hide his misuse of funds by first buying gift cards purportedly for his staff and then using them for his own personal expenses.”

The listed expenses include dues at a local golf club, rental cars to travel to casinos, flowers for his girlfriend, gas, hotels and restaurants. The investigation found he also used these funds to defraud his bank and collect income he did not report to the IRS.

The indictment lists a number of expenses that were not accurately reported to the Office of Campaign Finance. For example a $1,520 expense listed in 2014 as “catering,” was actually membership dues, locker fees and assessments for a Lowell golf club, according to the document.

When seeking a home mortgage from Lowell Bank in 2015, Nangle allegedly lied on his application and blamed his bad credit on his ex-wife.

“As part of the home mortgage application, Nangle submitted a letter to the Lowell Bank dated February 26, 2015, that falsely blamed his bad credit on his ex-wife, claiming that he had loaned her money, which she did not pay back in a timely fashion, when, in truth and fact, Nangle had not loaned her any money, and in the months prior to the closing, Nangle had spent thousands of dollars at (casinos,)” according to the indictment.

Nangle gambled heavily at casinos in Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well as online, according to the indictment.

For example, the indictment states: “In the late evening hours of May 2, 2018 to the early morning hours of May 3, 2018, Nangle won a $1,221 jackpot on a slot machine at CT Casino 2. CT casino 2 was required to report any winnings of over $1,200 to the IRS, including identifying the jackpot winner on an IRS form W-2G. Instead of truthfully reporting such winnings, defendant Nangle paid another individual to collect Nangle’s winnings so that Nangle could evade reporting this casino income to the IRS on form W-2G. This conduct was captured on CT Casino 2 video surveillance.”

The investigation also included probes into Nangle’s relationship with a number of unnamed area businesses.

According to the indictment, he owed money to some of these businesses, including a restaurant in Dracut owned by his relative, a restaurant in Salisbury owned by a friend and a restaurant in Lowell.

The investigation found a facilities maintenance company in Billerica paid Nangle $27,000 for real estate consulting services in late-2014 and early-2015. According to the indictment, Nangle had not provided these services at the time of the payment.

Rep. David Nangle’s aide Bob Spinney, center, black down jacket, outside the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston Tuesday. Spinney was also seen more than once outside Nangle’s home in Lowell on Tuesday.

Nangle repeatedly used a contracting company based in Tyngsboro, which the investigation found Nangle did not pay. Instead the contractor was “awarded lucrative bids” for construction projects with state funding secured by Nangle, according to the indictment.

Another section of the indictment describes a man, only identified as “Lowell State Employee,” who Nangle allegedly helped find work. Prosecutors allege this man assisted Nangle in filing false federal income tax returns.

When asked if any other elected officials were probed in this investigation, Lelling said he could not comment.

“Well it’s not ongoing for Rep. Nangle, as to other elected representatives, I don’t know the answer to that,” he said.

The Sun reported that Nangle’s campaign finance reports showed an $8,700 payment to Boston law firm Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar, LLP, and that Nangle, when asked if he was under any state or federal investigation, said he “knew nothing about it.”

A Sun editor who went to Nangle’s home on Trull Lane, in Belvidere, early Tuesday was confronted by one of his staffers, Bob Spinney. Spinney was observed entering the front door of the ranch-style home with a black trash bag. Later in the day, Spinney was seen at the courthouse with Nangle.

Nangle, a Lowell Democrat, is a division chair in House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s leadership team.

He has served in the House since 1999 and represents portions of Lowell and Chelmsford.

The next court date in this case is March 19 at 10 a.m. in U.S. District Court in Boston. Nangle is not required to attend.