SOUTH PARIS — A former town clerk for Byron, who also served as treasurer and tax collector, was sentenced to jail and ordered to repay nearly $30,000 after pleading guilty to a charge of theft by deception.

Allison D. Freeman, 46, appeared Wednesday in Oxford County Superior Court on the felony charge that was handed up last year by an Oxford County grand jury. The theft charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

After she pleaded guilty to the charge, a judge imposed a sentence of three years in prison, but suspended all of that time except for 30 days. After serving her sentence, Freeman will be on probation for three years.

She must report to the Oxford County Jail on Jan. 2, according to court documents.

The judge also ordered her to pay $1,000 in restitution to the town of Byron; $4,760 to Central Maine Power Co.; $3,812 to Bayroot, a Delaware corporation that owns land in Oxford County; $19,139 to Ursa Major, an aerospace company based in Colorado with land holdings in Oxford County; and $465 to John Harmon.

Freeman resigned from her town posts in April 2018, citing intimidation and harassment by the spouse of a selectman.


An audit of the town’s books and other financial records revealed significant financial discrepancies that included missing funds, according to a town official.

Local officials launched an audit of the town’s finances after it was learned no audit had taken place since 2013 because of Byron’s lax municipal policies and procedures. There were no audits in 2010 or 2011, but one was done in 2012.

The issue came to light when two new selectmen learned about the lapse in audits.

Freeman’s attorney, Jesse James Ian Archer, wrote in court papers that the charge against his client alleged she “shaved the books” on the town’s taxes for the named victims totaling nearly $30,000 over several years.

The figures in question are “highly disputed,” Archer said.

“Allison has owned up to her wrongdoing” since seeking legal counsel, Archer wrote.


Disputed in the case are the  amount Freeman “misappropriated and to what purpose it was used,” Archer wrote.

Her banking statements don’t show a “treasure trove of money, in fact, they evidenced a dearth of funds.”

Some of the “misused funds” were used to buy food for her children, he said.

“Some of the funds were used to help other citizens of Byron who had come to the Town Office begging for help with heating and other life necessities in rural western Maine,” Archer wrote.

He said Freeman shared with him that she had been struggling with and treated for depression and anxiety dating back to 2000.

She had been verbally and mentally abused by her husband whom she divorced and against whom she secured a restraining order after entering an abused women’s advocacy program.


Freeman attempted suicide then lost a pregnancy after more than six months.

Her boyfriend was laid off after she started working at the Town Office and they struggled to put food on the table for five children.

They borrowed money from family members and got deeply into debt, she said.

“It was always a small amount to just get by,” she said of the start of her embezzlement. “I would always say, ‘I’ll just put it back next paycheck.’ But next paycheck would come and I would need it for oil or food or rent” or visits to medical specialist for one of her children, she told Archer.

Archer was seeking a fully suspended sentence for Freeman.

A Byron official wrote in a victim impact statement to the court that Freeman had “manipulated” Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicle records, excise tax amounts, tax bills, and Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife records “all for her own financial benefit. Leaving a very negative effect on the town’s standings.”

Her manipulation resulted in inflated tax bills for some large property owners “who would not notice the difference.”

The financial loss to the town was estimated at roughly $75,000 through theft, according to Linda M. Joyal, chairperson of the Byron Select Board. Town incurred $63,000 in expenses for a forensic audit and legal consultation, Joyal wrote.

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