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Former Daytona Beach lawmaker indicted for misuse of campaign funds

By Brandon Larrabee, The News Service of Florida

For the second time in a year, a former Democratic state lawmaker is facing a federal indictment for allegedly using campaign funds to cover personal expenses.

United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley III announced Thursday that former Rep. Dwayne Taylor of Daytona Beach has been charged with nine counts of wire fraud in connection with a scheme to funnel money from his campaign to personal funds.

Taylor could face a maximum of 20 years in prison on each of the nine counts, though as a practical matter, first-time offenders virtually never receive the maximum sentence.

Prosecutors are also seeking $62,834, “representing the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the offense,” though the amounts withdrawn from the campaign in the nine counts listed in the indictment totaled $2,440.

According to the indictment, Taylor “would withdraw cash from the Dwayne L. Taylor Campaign Accounts at automated teller machines (ATMs) ... and, within minutes or hours, deposit the same or a similar amount of cash into one of TAYLOR’s personal accounts.”

Taylor used at least one check for similar reasons, the indictment said.

Taylor is accused of using the funds for personal expenses and then filing fake or inflated campaign expense reports to cover his alleged misuse of the money.

The indictment does not specify what the funds were spent on. Bentley is the U.S. attorney in the Middle District of Florida.

Under Florida law, campaign money may not be used to defray normal living expenses, other than for transportation, meals, and lodging that is campaign-related.

Taylor served as his campaign’s treasurer in 2012 and 2014, when he was seeking re-election to the House, according to the indictment, which deals with funds from those two campaigns.

The case was investigated by the FBI.

Taylor did not respond to attempts to reach him for comment.

A Daytona Beach city commissioner before going to the Legislature, Taylor was first elected to the House in 2008. Taylor briefly considered opposing then-Rep. Mark Pafford for leader of the House Democrats after the party lost six seats in the 2014 elections, but pulled out of the race while saying he couldn’t work with the leadership of the state party.

Taylor ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2016, losing the Democratic primary in District 6.

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