Merrimack Valley Rep. Nangle Pleads Not Guilty to Fed Corruption Charges

Rep. David Nangle had no comment Tuesday as he walked from the Moakley Federal Courthouse to an idling car after pleading not guilty to numerous campaign finance-related charges, including wire fraud and bank fraud. (Photograph by Sam Doran/SHNS.)

A Merrimack Valley legislator, Rep. David Nangle of Lowell, plans to fight the more than two dozen federal fraud charges unveiled against him yesterday, and in the meantime, House leaders are not saying how they plan to respond.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said in an afternoon statement that the allegations are “serious and troubling and, if true, represent a significant betrayal of the public trust.” However, he did not say whether Nangle will retain his leadership and committee posts while awaiting trial or whether the House plans to open its own investigation into Nangle’s supposed campaign finance violations and gambling debts.

“I was shocked and disappointed to learn of his indictment this morning,” DeLeo said in a statement. “Rep. Nangle has been a friend and colleague for over 20 years. Never once during that time did I have an inkling that he had a gambling problem, much less a gambling problem as extensive as what has been reported today.”

Asked if the House Ethics Committee had launched an inquiry or if Nangle would continue to receive his public salary—$66,257 annually with another $30,000 stipend for serving as second division chair in the House—a DeLeo spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the speaker’s statement.

Hours after his arrest Tuesday, 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.

Magistrate Judge Page Kelley ordered Nangle to be released on a $25,000 unsecured bond with several conditions on his travel and a requirement that he not gamble.

Nangle did not answer questions from reporters outside the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse, walking silently from the building exit to a black SUV that was waiting curbside.

The FBI’s Boston office began investigating Nangle in November 2017, officials said Tuesday, and they believe Nangle’s fraud dates back to at least 2014.

Investigators allege that Nangle, a conservative Democrat who has served in the House since 1999, used tens of thousands of campaign dollars on flowers for his girlfriend, gift cards for himself, hotel and restaurant charges and more.

Nangle allegedly spent thousands of dollars raised for his campaign on member dues, locker fees and cart charges at a golf club in Lowell, then described the expenses on mandatory Office of Campaign and Political Finance reports as catering or volunteer events.

The feds also allege Nangle filed fraudulent tax returns and provided a Lowell bank with false information to acquire loans, hoping to hide his debts and fund extensive gambling at casinos around New England.

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