July 26, 2013

Maine ex-official's fraud jury deliberates into evening

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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"There's a common theme to these crimes. It's money, it's greed," he said. "If you follow the money it leads right back to Carole Swan."

Swan is accused of four counts of defrauding the Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation program by misrepresenting her income, her work and her work capacity from 2008 to 2011. According to the indictment, "she failed to report her ownership interest and her active participation in the operation of Marshall Swan Construction and a harness horse racing business and her activities on the Board of Selectmen for the town of Chelsea."

She also is accused of fraudulently obtaining a contract for Marshall Swan Construction to repair the Windsor Road culvert while she was a selectman by deceiving town employees, officials and other bidders about the cost of the culvert. The program was supported by Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.

"From the day the Windsor Road culvert washed out, Carole Swan engineered a scheme to defraud Chelsea and to ensure that Marshall Swan Construction was the only contractor that could win that project," Clark said.

Sharon told them contractor Frank Monroe – who testified he gave Swan $10,000 in 2010 – had been given immunity for his actions. He said the government got a picture of Swan having dinner with her husband and younger son a month ago as well as subpoenaing records from the hotel where she is staying during the trial.

"This is similar to a witch hunt," Sharon told the jury. "We do not convict people who fall out of grace with the majority."

"You cannot convict a person for a mistake," Sharon argued. "You have to be convinced that at the time she was doing it, she intended to commit a crime. ... There is more than a reasonable doubt my client never committed any of the crimes the government charged her with."

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at badams@centralmaine.com.

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