AUGUSTA — The Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office has arrested Carole Swan, chairman of the Chelsea Board of Selectmen, on charges of aggravated forgery, attempted theft and improper compensation for services.

The sheriff’s office made the arrest today. Swan was later released on $25,000 bail, according to Sheriff Randall A. Liberty.

Liberty said the sheriff’s office was notified of a possible theft of funds on Jan. 31 belonging to the town of Chelsea. Upon further investigation, Det. Dave Bucknam learned that Swan, a 19-year selectman for Chelsea, had been attempting to overpay a town road contractor with the intent of a kickback.

As the investigation developed, Bucknam was able to obtain audio recordings and visual observations of a $20,000 transaction and attempted $10,000 kickback to Swan.

After reviewing the recording, Bucknam and Sgt. Ryan Reardon confronted Swan. Swan offered a confession of the attempted theft and of previous similar thefts from the town of Chelsea. 

“The most difficult part of this crime is that these tax dollars come very hard to many Chelsea residents,” Liberty said. “In tough economic times, many families are having difficulty paying for their medications, heating bills and their property taxes. They had entrusted their taxes with Mrs. Swan and she violated that trust.”

Liberty said the investigation is ongoing and that he wants any other victim to contact Bucknam at 623-3592.