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Lawyer for ex-tax collector plans appeal.

Byline: Gary V. Murray

WORCESTER -- The lawyer representing former Barre Tax Collector Marcia Langelier on charges of stealing more than $300,000 in tax revenues wants the state Appeals Court to decide whether a law prohibiting the falsification of corporate ledgers can be applied to municipal officials or employees.

Ms. Langelier, 62, is under indictment in Worcester Superior Court on charges of larceny of more than $250 by a single scheme, embezzlement by a municipal or county officer and making false entries in corporate books.

Prosecutors allege she embezzled more than $300,000 in public money between Jan. 1, 2005, and July 31, 2011, while acting as the town's elected tax collector. Ms. Langelier has pleaded not guilty.

Her lawyer, John J. Roemer, has filed a motion seeking dismissal of the false entries in corporate books charge on grounds that the town of Barre, while incorporated in 1774, is not a corporation within the meaning of the statute in question.

Assistant District Attorney John A. O'Leary's written opposition to the motion to dismiss has been impounded because it contains references to testimony elicited before the grand jury that indicted Ms. Langelier last year.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Monday.

Mr. Roemer filed a motion Wednesday, however, asking Judge James R. Lemire, who is expected to preside over the hearing, to report the following question of law to the Appeals Court:

"Does G.L.c. 266 sec. 67, which prohibits any officer, agent, clerk or servant of a corporation or a person from making a false entry or omitting to make a true entry in any book of the corporation or person, apply to an elected official of a town, the tax collector, who allegedly made false entries and omissions in town records regarding money paid for town taxes in order to facilitate theft of the money?''

In support of his motion, Mr. Roemer said the question has never been decided by any appellate court in Massachusetts and the unresolved issue "affects the potential criminal liability of some 250,000 municipal employees in the Commonwealth's 351 cities and towns.''

The law in question carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison, as does the embezzlement charge Ms. Langelier is also facing.

The maximum penalty for larceny is a state prison term of five years.

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Title Annotation:Local
Author:Murray, Gary V.
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 16, 2014
Words:388
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