Chelsea selectwoman charged in $10K kickback scheme

Posted Feb. 10, 2011, at 4:24 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 11, 2011, at 5:16 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A longtime selectwoman in central Maine has been charged for an alleged kickback scheme using town funds.

Fifty-two-year-old Carole Swan, chairwoman of the Chelsea Board of Selectmen, was arrested Thursday on charges of aggravated forgery, attempted theft and improper compensation of services. Swan was released on $25,000 bail and was released pending a May 24 hearing, at 8:30 a.m. in Kennebec County Superior Court. She could not be reached for comment.

Sheriff Randall Liberty told the Kennebec Journal that Swan allegedly attempted to overpay a road contactor with the intent of getting a $10,000 kickback in return.  Stephen Langsdorf, a lawyer representing the town, detailed three incidents involving the contractor, whom he identified as Frank Monroe, of Whitefield.

Monroe has had a contract to plow Chelsea roads since 2006. Monroe denied any involvement with Swan when contacted Wednesday by the Kennebec Journal.

In February 2010, according to Langsdorf, “Carole Swan approached Frank Monroe and put pressure on him to pay her, personally, $3,000 — and he paid her.  He’s a small businessman, which is why he was subject to pressure by her.

“In the fall, the same thing happened, and she convinced him to pay her $7,000 cash.”

Langsdorf said Monroe told him that “as a contractor, he felt he had no choice but to pay her.”

Langsdorf said a third request sent Monroe to authorities.

Liberty said Detective David Bucknam captured a recording of the most recent transaction — which was for $20,000 with an attempted $10,000 kickback to Swan.

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