Former rep David Nangle pleads guilty to misusing campaign funds

Lowell pol lied on bank loan applications, tax returns 

FORMER STATE REPRESENTATIVE David Nangle pleaded guilty on Wednesday in federal court to using his campaign funds to pay for extensive personal expenses, then crafting schemes to cover up his spending. Nangle admitted that he lied on bank applications for loans and lied on his tax returns. 

At a plea hearing that lasted nearly an hour, Nangle said he was guilty and repeatedly acknowledged that he had committed the crimes alleged by the government. 

He will be sentenced June 24. 

The hearing was held via Zoom with US District Court Judge Rya Zobel presiding. 

Nangle, a Democrat from Lowell, was arrested in February 2020 on federal charges for using more than $70,000 in political contributions from his campaign fund for personal expenses, from golf club dues to rental cars that he used to travel to casinos. The US attorney’s office said Nangle was a heavy gambler who was tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Nangle lied on campaign finance forms, bank loan applications, and tax returns in order to get loans he was not entitled to and to lower his tax burden 

Nangle pleaded guilty to 23 criminal counts, including wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements to a bank, and filing false tax returns.  

In exchange, the US attorney agreed not to charge him with obstruction of justice or extorting property by misusing his role as a state representative. The latter stems from allegations that a Billerica company owned by an associate of Nangle’s paid Nangle for “consulting” services that Nangle never provided, which Nangle used as proof of income to obtain a mortgage.  

Several of the charges carry sentences of up to 30 years in prison. The plea deal did not lay out an agreed-upon sentence, but said the two sides had agreed that because Nangle accepted responsibility early, the “offense level” that is used by the judge to calculate sentencing guidelines would be reduced, resulting in a lesser sentence.  

Nangle agreed as part of the deal not to challenge a prison sentence of 30 months or less or orders related to forfeiting his assets. 

Zobel said the agreement is “somewhat different” than a typical plea because it does not specify a sentence. 

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Shira Schoenberg

Reporter, CommonWealth

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Nangle has been out of jail since his arrest, released on condition that he avoid most travel and that he not gamble. The only condition added by Zobel on Wednesday is that Nangle must seek permission from the Probation Department if he sells or disposes of any assets worth $5,000 or more. Zobel indicated that it is likely that Nangle will be required to pay restitution or forfeit some assets as a condition of the sentence. 

Nangle, 60, was first elected to the House in 1998 and served continuously through 2020. Before his arrest, he was a member of former House speaker Robert DeLeo’s leadership team and a member of the House Ethics Committee. He ran for reelection in 2020 but was defeated in the Democratic primary.