Former Tax Collector Indicted in Connection with Allegedly Stealing More than $150,000
SPRINGFIELD – The former Tax Collector for the town of Blandford has been indicted in connection with allegedly stealing more than $150,000 from taxpayers and the town, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
LeeAnn Thompson, 47, of North Chelmsford, was indicted on Friday by a Hampden County Grand Jury on the charges of Embezzlement by a Public Officer (1 count), Larceny Over $250 (1 count), and Use of an Official Position to Secure an Unwarranted Privilege (1 count). She will be arraigned in Hampden Superior Court at a later date.
The AG’s Office began an investigation in 2014 with assistance from Massachusetts Inspector General’s Office.
“We allege that this defendant abused her role as a tax collector to steal thousands of dollars from the town of Blandford and its taxpayers, using various schemes to undermine the integrity of local government and the trust placed in her as a public official,” said AG Healey. “We thank the Inspector General’s Office for their assistance in this investigation.”
“Working with the Attorney General’s Office, we uncovered evidence that the defendant betrayed Blandford taxpayers and her duty as a public official,” said Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha. “This indictment sends a clear message that those who violate the public trust will be held to account.”
Thompson was the Tax Collector for the town of Blandford from 2002 to 2011. Authorities allege that from 2006 to 2011, Thompson stole more than $150,000 from taxpayers and the town through a variety of larcenous schemes. The AG’s Office expects additional claims and adjustments will be made that will increase that monetary figure.
Authorities allege that Thompson took taxpayer cash payments without depositing them into the town bank account, and would cover up the thefts by using other taxpayer monies to pay off the stolen funds.
Further investigation revealed that Thompson allegedly took cash payments, used escrow checks to pay off stolen funds, gave credit to taxpayers without having money to back up the credit, and took overpayments from town taxpayers without applying monies to their taxes.
This scheme was discovered when Blandford’s new tax collector requested a turn over report to account for missing monies. Later, the town employed a forensic auditor, who further uncovered larcenous schemes.
These charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Vasiliades of AG Healey’s Criminal Bureau and Assistant Attorney General Jim O’Brien of AG Healey’s White Collar and Public Integrity Division. The investigation was handled by State Police assigned to the AG’s Office and investigators in the Inspector General’s Office.