A New York City political consultant was charged with nine tax and fraud counts Tuesday, with prosecutors alleging he defrauded the state Senate Democrats’ campaign committee of $100,000.
Melvin Lowe, who has acted as a consultant to Senate Democrats and now-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s failed run in 2002, faces charges that he directed an unnamed New Jersey vendor to send an invoice to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee for $100,000 in 2010. But the vendor never printed campaign literature for the committee, and Lowe kept $75,000 for himself to fund renovations to his pool at his second home in Georgia, the complaint alleges.
Lowe, who is up against eight other charges, faces 20 years in prison for the DSCC charge alone. He was one of nine people caught on a federal wiretap by ex-Sen. Shirley Huntley earlier this year. He’s also accused of filing no federal tax returns in 2010, 2011 or 2012.
The complaint, filed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office, also appears to implicate an unnamed state senator in the scheme, though the wording suggests the lawmaker is no longer in office.
According to the charges, Lowe directed the vendor to send $20,000 to a fellow New York City political consultant. Days earlier, the state senator had promised the consultant would receive a benefit from the vendor for work he had previously performed for the senator. The consultant said he had never done any business with the vendor.
The vendor that sent the false invoice at Lowe’s request isn’t named in the complaint. Campaign finance records show the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee sent two $50,000 payments in July 2010 to Cornerstone Management Partners in Teaneck, N.J.
Here’s the full criminal complaint, which also details Lowe’s tax charges: