AUGUSTA – A grand jury Thursday indicted former Chelsea Board of Selectmen Chairman Carole Swan on charges related to soliciting kickbacks from a town snowplow contractor.

The indictment is the formal start of a criminal case against Swan, 53, who will be arraigned on the four charges in Kennebec County Superior Court.

The date of the arraignment was not available late Thursday.

Swan was in court March 11 to hear the charges against her when they were filed, but she was not asked to enter a plea at that time.

She remains free on $25,000 cash bail.

An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it indicates that sufficient evidence is present to proceed with formal charges and a trial in Superior Court.

Swan was indicted on four charges:

A felony count of aggravated forgery, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, alleging that she falsified a public record on Feb. 1;

A felony count of attempted theft, punishable by up to five years in prison or $5,000 in fines, alleging that she authorized a $22,075 check from the Town of Chelsea to pay for a fraudulent invoice on Feb. 3;

And two misdemeanor counts of improper compensation for services, alleging she solicited or accepted money in return for promoting a contract while she was a public official. Each misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The accusations stem from incidents between late September 2009 and late January 2010.

“The investigation is continuing at the state and federal level,” said Deputy District Attorney Alan Kelley.

Swan’s attorney, Lenny Sharon, has said Swan was conducting her own anticorruption probe when she allegedly accepted kickbacks from plow contractor Frank Monroe of Whitefield.

Monroe told police in February he paid Swan $3,000 and $7,000 on separate occasions in 2010, and was being asked to inflate a bill for road sand so she could receive $10,000.

The Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office set up a sting in which Monroe paid Swan, and taped a transaction in which Monroe handed an unknown sum in marked bills to her.

Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty has said Swan was later arrested with the cash in her car.

In May, Sharon told reporters Swan’s actions were a way of conducting an investigation of her own to see if Monroe was overcharging the town.

In the early years of Swan’s 19-year tenure as a town selectman, she helped authorities with their investigation into Doris Reed, former assistant town manager and tax collector who embezzled more than $250,000 from the town’s excise tax fund between 1988 and 1992. Reed served four years in prison and died in 2004.

Liberty has also said Swan’s husband, Marshall, is being investigated over allegations he tried to circumvent the town’s purchasing ordinance. The accusations say Marshall Swan Construction allegedly received favored treatment for town road work while Carole Swan was in office. Her term ended June 30.

The Swans were at a selectman’s meeting Wednesday night, answering and asking some questions about contracts.

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]