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TYNGSBOROUGH, MA (WBZ-AM) -- A former Assistant Tax Collector who worked for the Town of Tyngsborough has pleaded guilty for stealing tax money intended for the Town.
Nancy Dutton, 57, of Dracut, MA, pleaded guilty Friday in Middlesex Superior Court to stealing about $250,000 thousand dollars while working for the town as Assistant Tax Collector and Deputy Tax Collector
Judge Bruce Henry sentenced Dutton to two years in the House of Corrections with six months to serve, and the balance suspended for five years. Additionally, Judge Henry sentenced the defendant to five years probation and to pay restitution.
How much Dutton will have to pay in restitution will be determined in November.
According to Tyngsborough Police and The Middlesex District Attorney's office, Dutton pleaded guilty in connection with thefts that occurred between 2011 and 2017.
However, the amount of money believed to have been taken was $492,000 dollars since 2004.
In May of 2017, the Dutton was asked by her employer to locate a series of back-up documents to verify a set of transactions from July of 2016. She did not produce the backup records and proceeded to leave work early.
Through their investigation, authorities learned that Dutton had been keeping two sets of records, one set that accurately reflected the tax collections taken in by the town and submitted to state tax collectors, and a second set of internal records that were created to conceal the shortages in the bank deposits.
Investigators say that when town residents would come to the Tax Collector's Office window to pay their taxes in cash, the defendant would take the cash for her own personal use and then make false entries into the town's books. A review of the defendant's personal bank records shows a series of cash payments that were used to pay off credit card debts and for personal purchases.
It was also determined that the amount of money deposited in that bank account during this period exceeded the income that Dutton was receiving from her government job, which was her only job.
They also say Dutton laundered money by depositing funds into another person's account, which she had signatory authority over.
Today, The Town of Tyngsborough has made changes how they collect monies into the town by eliminating all cash payments over $50. Only credit/debit will be accepted for payments.
According to The Lowell Sun, prior to joining the Town of Tyngsborough in 2002, Dutton was convicted of forgery in Lowell District Court in February 1997. That conviction resulted in Dutton being sentenced to a one year of probation and ordered to pay $7,847 in restitution.
WBZ NewsRadio1030's Kim Tunnicliffe reports.