Department News

Former Tyngsborough Employee Sentenced in Connection with Theft from Town Finance Department

TYNGSBOROUGH — Police Chief Richard D. Howe, Town Administrator Matthew Hanson, and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announce that a former town employee has plead guilty today in Middlesex Superior Court to five counts of felony larceny and one count of money laundering in connection with the theft of approximately $250,000 from the Tyngsborough Finance Department.

Nancy Dutton, a former Assistant Tax Collector and Deputy Tax Collector for the town, was sentenced by Judge Bruce Henry to two years in the house of corrections with six months to serve, and the balance suspended for five years. Additionally, Judge Henry sentenced Ms. Dutton to five years probation.

The amount of money Ms. Dutton will be required to pay in restitution will be determined on Nov. 27.

“I am very pleased that Ms. Dutton has been held accountable for her inexcusable actions. Town employees are and should be held to a higher standard,” Chief Howe said. “I want to thank all parties that worked diligently on this complicated and extensive investigation, including police detectives, our town management, finance department and the district attorney’s office. This has been a long and arduous process, but in the end justice has prevailed and the town can continue to move forward as it has been since this crime took place.”

In May of 2017, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Tyngsborough Police Department began investigating accounting irregularities that were discovered by members of the town hall’s financial staff. As a result of that investigation, it was determined that Ms. Dutton was using her position to take tax monies meant for the town and then covering up her actions by falsifying records.

In June of 2017, Ms. Dutton was placed on paid administrative leave and she was indicted by a grand jury in September.

Ms. Dutton plead guilty in connection with thefts that occurred between 2011 and 2017 under the statute of limitations. However, the amount of money believed to have been taken was $492,000 since 2004. As part of her plea she forfeited the funds in her municipal retirement account.

After pleading guilty, the Assistant District Attorney read aloud to the court, the victim impact statement provided by Tyngsborough Town Administrator Matthew Hanson.  The statement can be read here in its entirety.

“The residents of Tyngsborough and the Town’s staff will now finally be able to feel a sense of closure,” Town Administrator Hanson said. “I would like to thank the staff in the finance department and police department who worked diligently to bring forward the necessary evidence on this issue and help see it through to the guilty plea issued today. In addition, I am happy to announce that the Town has received its first $400,000 in reimbursements from the Town’s bonding agency, and an additional $36,000 will be returned to the Town from Ms. Dutton’s municipal retirement account as part of the guilty plea today. We believe the remainder of the missing funds should be required to be turned over as part of a final court hearing next month, which will focus specifically on that matter. Thank you to the town’s residents for supporting our staff as we have worked through this issue, including the implementation of a new policy for no cash payments over $50. The Town’s residents can feel confident that a theft like this will never occur again.”