July 18, 2013

Spectators get warning in Chelsea fraud trial

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

BANGOR — Whitefield contractor Frank Monroe was back on the witness stand Thursday in the fraud trial of a former Chelsea selectwoman, Carole Swan, and the judge had to warn the spectators to maintain decorum.

Frank Monroe

Contributed photo

click image to enlarge

Carole Swann

Staff photo by Betty Adams

On Wednesday, Monroe testified that that he felt pressured to give Swan kickbacks of $3,000, $7,000 and $10,000 when he was awarded work by the town. At the time, Swan was a selectwoman whose husband, Marshall Swan, was often given town road and culvert work.

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Chief Judge John A. Woodcock told those in the courtroom – about 15 people, many of them from Chelsea – to stay quiet after one person called out “no” as defense attorney Leonard Sharon was questioning Monroe about dates he said he paid Swan money she had demanded.

"If you cannot remain silent, I will have the marshals remove you," Woodcock warned.

Swan is facing multiple charges of fraud in federal court, including one count of defrauding a federal program, five counts of falsifying federal income tax returns, and failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars of income for Marshall Swan Construction.

Monroe is expected to finish testifying today and Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark said he expects to finish the prosecution’s case today as well. The trial is in its ninth day.

Sharon, Swan’s attorney, has argued that the judge should allow witnesses to testify about what Swan told them about her plan to conduct a sting of Monroe.

“They speak directly to her state of mind, intent and plan to expose Monroe’s wrongdoing and thus negate the allegation that she intended to extort money from Monroe for her own gain,” he wrote. 

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