Dwayne Taylor, a former member of Florida’s legislature and Daytona Beach city commissioner accused of using campaign funds for his personal benefit, has been ordered to forfeit almost $63,000 as part of his sentence.
Taylor, 49, was charged with 9 counts of wire fraud on March 9. He pleaded not guilty to all charges the day after the indictment was filed.
According to the 9-page indictment, Taylor allegedly withdrew money from his campaign fund and deposited the cash into his personal bank account. He withdrew money ranging from $100 to $400 on eight different occasions from ATMs and cashed one check, the indictment says.
Taylor reportedly used the funds for various personal expenses, including his wedding in New York City and meals at McDonald’s. The total amount he withdrew came to $2,440, but prosecutors want to forfeit $62,834 as part of his sentence.
The indictment also alleges that Taylor misused petty cash funds and lied about campaign expenditures during his 2012 and 2014 campaigns. He allegedly reported “inflated and non-existent campaign expenses” to hide that he “unlawfully embezzled funds” from his campaign accounts. Taylor was his own treasurer in both campaigns, according to the indictment.
Federal prosecutors presented evidence of a series of cash withdrawals, checks written to petty cash, and checks written to himself during the trial. All the evidence revealed ways Taylor allegedly spent funds in ways unrelated to his campaign. Florida law forbids candidates from using campaign money to pay for personal expenses with the exception of meals, transportation, and lodging associated with the campaign.
“It is disappointing that an elected official would exploit the generosity of his constituents to advance his personal lifestyle,” Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division, told the press with regards to the case. “Corrupt public officials undermine the integrity of our government and violate the public’s trust, which is why combating public corruption remains the FBI’s top criminal priority.”
Taylor was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2008 and ran for four terms until 2016. He tried to run for Congress in 2016 but was defeated in the primaries. Prior to his election to the state legislature, Taylor was the Daytona Beach City Commissioner from 2003 and 2005.
He is the third lawmaker from Florida to be convicted of fraud-related crimes in the past year. Former representative Reggie Fullwood of Jacksonville is serving house arrest on fraud and tax convictions, and former congresswoman Corrine Brown is currently awaiting sentencing for her role in a fraudulent charity scheme.
Taylor faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud. He remains free after his conviction on August 31. His sentencing is scheduled for November 30 in Orlando.