Grand Jury Alleges Political Consultant Received Fraud Proceeds as Benefit from State Senator
Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, today announced that a grand jury sitting in White Plains has returned a nine-count Indictment (the “Indictment”) charging New York political consultant Melvin Lowe with fraud and tax violations.
According to the Indictment and previously filed court documents: Lowe conspired with others to defraud the New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (“DSCC”) and its contributors of $100,000 by causing a vendor to submit a false invoice for printing services to the DSCC. Lowe instructed the vendor to send $75,000 of the proceeds to Lowe and $20,000 to another political consultant. The $20,000 payment came days after a State Senator promised to pay a benefit to the consultant for assistance the consultant had previously provided to the Senator. Lowe allegedly used the $75,000 he received to pay for the installation of a pool and other renovations at his second home in Georgia, and gave $5,000 to a Manhattan community board member.
In addition to the fraud charges, the Indictment charges Lowe with income tax violations for his failure to report more than $2 million in consulting income. Lowe is charged with three counts of subscribing to false tax returns for each of the years 2007 through 2009, and three counts of failing to file tax returns for each of the years 2010 through 2012.
Lowe allegedly caused his bank to report his account balance falsely to a mortgage lender. Lowe allegedly caused an employee of Commerce Bank to make a false statement to Lowe’s mortgage lender regarding the balance of Lowe’s checking account at Commerce Bank. In 2007, Lowe obtained a mortgage loan from Premium Capital in the principal amount of approximately $225,000 that was secured by his second home in Georgia. As part of the loan application process, Lowe signed a form in which he falsely represented that he had more than $80,000 in his checking account. Lowe then asked an Assistant Manager at his local Commerce Bank branch to confirm that he had more than $80,000 in his checking account. The Assistant Manager did so, despite the fact that LOWE had less than $2,200 in that account at that time.
Lowe, 52, of New York, NY, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of causing an employee of a federally insured bank to make a false report, three counts of subscribing to false tax returns, and three counts of failure to file tax returns. Lowe faces maximums of 20 years in prison on the conspiracy count, 20 years on the wire fraud count, 30 years for causing an employee of a federally insured bank to make a false report, three years on each of the false tax return counts, and one year on each of the counts for failure to file tax returns.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Perry A. Carbone and James McMahon are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.