Massachusetts town employee placed on leave pending financial investigation
TYNGSBOROUGH, Mass. — A town employee has been place on administrative leave after accounting irregularities were discovered in May.
Tyngsborough Police Chief Richard D. Howe and Town Administrator Matthew T. Hanson said that members of the town hall's financial staff discovered the irregularities shortly after a change in personnel and new financial processes were implemented in the town’s finance departments.
“The investigation thus far has determined that a significant amount of money from cash tax payments is missing," Howe said. "This has apparently been going on for a period of several years. While we are confident that we have determined how much money is missing, we cannot release the specific details at this time due to the ongoing investigation."
According to Hanson, Tyngsborough recently created a combined Finance Department, with oversight from an appointed finance director. The town also created a combined appointed treasurer/collector position.
As part of this change, the financial team increased internal controls, including an emphasis on new policies/procedures and increased oversight of financial accounts and software, which led to the discovery of the irregularities.
“As a result of this information the Tyngsborough Police Department has opened an investigation into the possible theft of cash tax payments at Tyngsborough town hall,” Howe said.
A Tyngsborough Police Detective and a State Police Detective assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office are assisting in the investigation at the request of the police chief.
“An employee in town hall has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation, which remains ongoing," Hanson said.
Howe said he is working closely with the Board of Selectmen and the Town Administrator’s office.
“The Town and the Tyngsborough Police Department are dedicated to a complete and thorough investigation which will result in a full accounting of all missing funds and identification of the person or persons who are responsible,” he said.
Howe said the investigation is ongoing and additional information will be released at the conclusion of the investigation.
“While our new financial oversights discovered the accounting irregularities, the town is committed to conducting an independent forensic audit of the situation and will continue to expand financial protocols and software integration to prevent this from ever happening again,” Hanson said.