Tyngsborough tax collector pleads guilty to stealing $250,000 from town’s finance department

TYNGSBORO, MASS. (WHDH) - The former assistant tax collector and deputy tax collector for the town of Tyngsborough pleaded guilty Friday to stealing about $250,000 from the town’s finance department, officials say.

Nancy Dutton, 57, of Dracut, pleaded guilty 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 while she was employed for the town, according to a joint release from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Tyngsborough Chief of Police Richard Howe.

Dutton was sentenced to two years in jail with six months to serve, and the balance suspended for five years.

Dutton was also given five years probation, and the amount of money she will be required to pay in restitution will be determined Nov. 27.

“Ms. Dutton deliberately defrauded the town of Tyngsborough and took advantage of her fiduciary position,” Ryan said. “Today she has accepted responsibility for this financial scheme that she worked for years to conceal from authorities.”

“I am very pleased that Miss Dutton has been held responsible for her inexcusable actions; town employees are and should be held to a higher standard,” Howe said. “I want to thank all parties that worked diligently on this complicated and extensive investigation, including our town officials and the District Attorney’s Office.”

Dutton pleaded 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, officials say.

In May 2017, Dutton was asked by her employer to locate a series of backup documents to verify a set of transactions from July 2016 and she did not produce the backup records and proceeded to leave work early, according to the release.

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.

When town residents went to the tax collector’s office to pay their taxes in cash, the defendant took the cash for her own personal use and then made false entries into the agency’s books, according to Ryan’s Office.

Officials say that Dutton also laundered money by depositing funds into another person’s account, which she had signatory authority over.

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