BANGOR, Maine — A former Chelsea selectwoman who was indicted last month by a federal grand jury for extortion, tax evasion and fraud entered a not guilty plea Thursday to the 17 charges against her and was released on personal recognizance.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk ordered that Carole Swan, 53, and her husband, Marshall Swan, 54, be released after each pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
The federal government filed a 22-count indictment against the couple on Feb. 29.
Kravchuk ordered that the Swans both give DNA samples and barred them from contacting any victims or witnesses involved in the case, as conditions of their release.
Carole Swan, who served as a selectwoman for 19 years, used her position as a town leader to extort money from an area construction company by overpaying and getting kickbacks that totaled $20,000, the federal indictment states.
She allegedly had the town overpay the construction company — a plowing contractor — and got a kickback from him for $3,000 in January 2010, and another $7,000 in December 2010. In the third extortion count, she asked the contractor to inflate his bill for road sand so she could get $10,000, the federal indictment states.
Counts four through eight involve tax fraud and allege the Swans made false statements about their income between 2006 and 2010.
Counts nine through 12 allege that Carole Swan made false statements in order to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
The final five counts against Carole Swan deal with her husband’s construction company, Marshall Swan Construction, charging the town $130,000 for a culvert job done on Windsor Road that cost only $58,000 to replace, according to the indictment.
Carole Swan was arrested Feb. 10, 2011, by detectives with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office. The state charges related to the same extortion and fraud allegations have been dropped in lieu of the federal charges.
Carole Swan’s term as a selectwoman ended last June 30, and she decided not to seek re-election.
Marshall Swan, who is being represented by attorney Walter McKee of Augusta, also was indicted on federal charges of aiding and abetting federal fraud for his alleged involvement with the culvert job.
Carole Swan’s attorney, Leonard Sharon of Auburn, told the magistrate that he intends to seek a continuance in the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark did not oppose Sharon’s proposal.
“This is a case that includes hundreds of thousands of pages of discovery,” Clark said when asked by Kravchuk if he objected to postponing the next court date.
Carole Swan faces up to 20 years in prison for the most serious charges against her, and a fine of up to $250,000. Her husband faces 10 years behind bars and a fine of up to $250,000.