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NY political consultant arrested on fraud charges

October 29, 2013
Associated Press

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A New York political consultant was arrested Tuesday on public corruption charges, accused of defrauding a Democratic campaign committee he worked for and others.

Melvin Lowe, 52, was released on $200,000 bail after an initial appearance in federal court in White Plains. Authorities said the 52-year-old Manhattan resident defrauded the New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and its contributors of $100,000 by causing a vendor to submit a false invoice for printing services to the committee.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the charges showed that "New York's culture of political corruption extends beyond elected officials to the relatively unknown professional political insiders who work behind the scenes to carry out corrupt schemes."

A criminal complaint filed in the case said Lowe instructed a vendor to send $75,000 of the proceeds to a bank account held by one of Lowe's companies and $20,000 to another New York political consultant while keeping $5,000 for himself.

According to the complaint, the $20,000 payment came days after a state senator promised to pay a benefit to the consultant for assistance the consultant had previously given the senator.

Prosecutors alleged that Lowe used some of the $75,000 he received to pay for the installation of a pool and other renovations at his second home in Georgia. It said he also gave $5,000 to a Manhattan community board member.

Lowe also was charged with failing to report more than $2 million in consulting income to the Internal Revenue Service.

He also was charged with causing his bank to make a false statement to his mortgage lender and with defrauding a Yonkers resident of $66,000. Charges of wire fraud, causing a federally insured bank employee to make a false report and failing to file proper tax returns carry a potential penalty of 82 years in prison.

Lowe's lawyer did not immediately reply to a message for comment. State Senate Democratic conference spokesman Gary Ginsburg declined to comment.



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