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Westhampton bookkeeper Lori Towne indicted on fraud charges

— A Westhampton woman accused of embezzling more than $200,000 from an Easthampton company will be arraigned Tuesday in Hampshire Superior Court.

A grand jury last week returned a 19-count indictment against Lori Towne, 50, of 139 Edwards Road. The charges include six counts of larceny over $250 by single scheme, six counts of check forgery, six counts of uttering false checks and a single count of embezzlement by broker, according to court documents.

Prosecutors say Towne was employed as a bookkeeper at SealRyt Corp. and allegedly embezzled more than $200,000 from the company between 2002 and 2009. The company was founded in 2001 and develops, patents and manufactures alternative sealing devices in the fluid and gas sealing industry.

The company had been located in the mill district at 150 Pleasant St. in Easthampton before relocating to Westfield in November 2011.

Towne, formerly known as Lori Chaffee, could not be reached for comment Friday. The Gazette left a message with her husband explaining it was preparing a story on the indictments.

Mark Wilkinson, president and founder of SealRyt Corp. declined to comment on the case ahead of the arraignment. Wilkinson, of Huntington, testified before a grand jury last week.

Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Jayme Parent said the case has been under investigation since the spring of 2011. The probe involved the work of a private forensic auditor, Easthampton police detectives as well as the DA’s newly established financial crimes unit.

Parent said the DA’s office plans to provide a full statement of the case for Tuesday’s scheduled arraignment.

Dan Crowley can be reached at dcrowley@gazettenet.com.

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