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Accountant sent to jail for defrauding Monterey, other Massachusetts towns

BOSTON — An accountant who stole nearly $1 million from multiple Massachusetts towns he worked for — including $24,597 from Monterey — has been sentenced to more than three years in jail, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Justin Cole, 40, of Uxbridge, pleaded guilty to 18 charges including multiple counts of larceny and was sentenced last week in Worcester Superior Court, the state attorney general’s office said in a statement.

Cole stole the bulk of the money while working as Uxbridge’s town accountant from 2012 until 2017, authorities said.

He stole from Uxbridge by submitting and approving dozens of false invoices and related submissions that caused the town to pay for services not provided.

Cole was also the principal of Bay State Municipal Accounting Group, which provided financial services to towns, and in that capacity also defrauded Monterey, Wenham and Millville through fraudulent billing, prosecutors said.

In all, he stole more than $930,000, prosecutors said.

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In 2020, Monterey officials said they were aware that Cole stole money from the town.

“We immediately wrote him a letter and said we want our money back,” said Donald Coburn, who at the time was the town Select Board chairman. “Within a week or so he returned the money, plus interest.”

Town officials did not recall what years Cole did the town’s books.

Some of the money went to paying his company’s rent and equipment.

In addition to the jail time, Cole was sentenced to three years of probation and barred from performing any financial services for any person or entity.

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