September 24, 2013

Feds move to drop Chelsea culvert fraud charge against Marshall Swan

Swan's wife, Carole Swan, in July beat related federal fraud charge on Windsor Road culvert project; Marshall Swan set for federal income tax evasion trial on Monday

By Betty Adams
Staff Writer

Less than a week before Marshall Swan's scheduled trial date in federal court, the prosecutor sought to dismiss a pending charge of aiding and abetting federal program fraud related to the culvert project on Windsor Road in Chelsea.

Marshall Swan

Staff file photo

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Marshall Swan is accused of falsifying income tax returns by failing to declare income received during the following tax years:

• 2006: $193,586

• 2007: $ 73,291

• 2008: $177,510

• 2009: $191,069

• 2010: $ 38,430

Swan, 56, of Chelsea, won the $396,880 repair project after the road washed out during the 2007 Patriot's Day storm.

He was accused of helping his wife, Carole Swan, who was a Chelsea selectwoman at the time, to defraud the government "by deceiving town employees and officials and other potential bidders on the contract about the cost of the culvert and causing Chelsea to pay $130,000 for the culvert when, she then and there knew, the culvert cost only about $58,000." The program was funded largely by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The criminal trials of Carole Swan and Marshall Swan were split after Carole Swan's attorney indicated part of her defense would be that domestic abuse by her husband affected her decision-making and behavior.

On July 26, Carole Swan was cleared by a jury of defrauding the government in the culvert project, and in light of that acquittal, the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark filed a motion to dismiss the related charge against Marshall Swan "in the interests of justice."

Marshall Swan's attorney, Walter McKee, declined to comment on the case today because it is so close to trial.

The aiding and abetting charge against Marshall Swan carried the stiffest penalty — a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, plus restitution and forfeiture.

Swan is scheduled for trial Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor on the five remaining counts of falsifying federal income tax returns. Jury selection in the case is set for 9 a.m., with the trial to begin immediately afterward.

The maximum penalty on each of those charges is three years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

He is accused of failing to declare a total of almost $674,000 in income of Marshall Swan Construction over the 2006 to 2010 tax years.

Carole Swan was convicted of five counts of income tax fraud and two counts of federal workers' compensation fraud on July 26. On Sept. 17, a jury at a separate trial convicted her of extorting money from town contractor Frank Monroe, on three separate dates between January 2010 and February 2011.

Carole Swan remains free on bail pending a sentencing hearing. She told U.S. District Court Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. that she is living with a sister in Chelsea.

The J&J Lane home Carole and Marshall Swan built, with its attached garage and in-ground pool, is now under contract to be sold.

When it went under contract Aug. 26, the listing price was $289,999 for the home and 5 acres.

Marshall Swan obtained a building permit Aug. 8 to add three windows to the second story of a garage that sits on a two-acre commercial lot at 472 Windsor Road, at the base of J&J Lane. That site is where he keeps equipment used in his earth-moving and septic system installation business, Marshall Swan Construction.

Work on the garage was underway recently, with two single dormers and a set of double windows going in. The building already had a deck on the second story and a set of outside stairs leading up to the deck.

It has two bedrooms, according to a building permit application. The approximate cost of the project, including labor, is $3,000.

That property also has two other sheds and a barn.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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