Ex-Chelsea selectwoman’s trial on extortion charges set for Sept. 10

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted July 31, 2013, at 12:55 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The trial of former Chelsea selectwoman Carole Swan on extortion charges will begin Sept. 10 in U.S. District Court.

Her husband, Marshall Swan, is to be tried on tax fraud charges in October, according to information posted Wednesday on the court’s electronic case filing system, and aiding and abetting the fraudulent use of federal funds in connection with a culvert project in Chelsea.

Swan, 55, was convicted Friday by a federal jury on five counts of tax fraud from 2006 to 2010 and two counts of lying in 2008 and 2010 about her income and work history to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The jury rejected Swan’s contention that she was justified in breaking the law because of alleged abuse at the hands of her estranged husband.

The jury of six men and six women found Swan not guilty on two of four counts of workers’ compensation fraud and not guilty of the illegal use of federal funds used to pay for a culvert with money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock severed Swan’s trial on three counts of extortion from her trial on the fraud charges. The week before her trial began July 8, Woodcock ruled the couple be tried separately after Carole Swan accused of her husband of being abusive.

Marshall Swan, through his attorney, Walter McKee of Augusta, has denied the allegation. Marshall Swan has not been charged with domestic violence assault.

The extortion charge stems from Carole Swan’s alleged use of her position as a town leader to extort money from an area construction company by overpaying and getting kickbacks that totaled $20,000. She had the town overpay the construction company — a plowing contractor — and received a $3,000 kickback from him in January 2010, and another $7,000 in December 2010, according to the indictment. In the third extortion count, she allegedly asked the contractor to inflate his bill for road sand so she could get $10,000 in February 2011.

The contractor, with the assistance of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, recorded telephone calls with Swan that are expected to be introduced as evidence at her trial in September.

Carole Swan testified earlier this month that she, on her own, was running a sting operation, trying to get enough evidence against the contractor to take to the Kennebec County district attorney’s office so charges could be brought against the contractor.

She also testified at her trial last month that she never deposited the cash she received and had planned to take it to the prosecutor’s office.

jharrison:

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http://bangordailynews.com/2013/07/31/news/mid-maine/ex-chelsea-selectwomans-trial-on-extortion-charges-set-for-sept-10/ printed on August 30, 2014