Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Four days after a federal grand jury indicted Carole and Marshall Swan on 30 charges, the Whitefield contractor who initiated an investigation of the Swans found eight tires on two of his pickups slashed and the windows of two excavators smashed by an air rifle or BB gun.
When Frank Monroe reported the damage, investigators, including FBI agents, went to the Swans’ Chelsea home, where the Swans denied any involvement, saying they had been out to dinner that night with Carole Swan’s sister.
Then on March 21, 2012, Monroe found an unfamiliar flashlight in one of the excavators. An analysis at the Maine State Police Crime Lab identified DNA on the battery pack as matching that of William Dalrymple, who died in March 2013.
Another person, identified only as an FBI confidential witness, later told authorities that he and Dalrymple “heard that Monroe had snitched on the Swans” and went to Chelsea from New Hampshire to meet with the Swans.
There, they said, Marshall Swan, a contractor himself, “pulled two $100 bills from the center console of his pickup truck and handed them to the confidential witness as payment for Dalrymple and the confidential witness to shoot up Monroe’s business.” That same confidential witness also said Marshall Swan told him a key part of Carole’s defense – that she was a battered wife – was a “show.”
Those statements were contained in the “Government’s First Memorandum in Aid of Sentencing,” a 36-page document recapping testimony largely from the two trials of Carole Swan that took place last summer in U.S. District Court in Bangor. The memo says the confidential informant returned to Monroe’s property on Aug. 2, 2012, apparently to threaten him by saying “he just got back into town after spending 15 years in prison in Vermont” and “would shoot anybody so that he did not have to go back.”
That information alleging retaliation against Monroe did not come out in any of the jury trails of Carole or Marshall Swan. In his sentencing memo, the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark, describes those events as he lays out a long list of lies, retaliation, witness tampering, and other activities he says should be taken into account when the Swans are sentenced later this year for various federal crimes. Clark filed the document Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.
On Sept. 17, 2013, a jury in federal court in Bangor convicted former Chelsea Selectwoman Carole Swan of three counts of extortion under color of official right, the wrongful taking by a public officer of money not due her or her office. She was accused of taking kickbacks from Monroe, who held the town’s sand and plow contracts. The extortion charges each carry a maximum prison term of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000, plus restitution.
The verdict came at the end of a six-day trial and 33 months after Monroe first went to Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputies complaining that Swan was demanding $10,000 from him.
Monroe’s claim triggered official investigations into Swan’s other activities with the town as well as reviews of her personal finances.
A separate jury convicted Carole Swan, 55, on July 26, 2013, of falsifying five years’ worth of income tax returns by failing to declare $650,000 in income, and of defrauding the federal workers’ compensation program in 2008 and 2010. The tax convictions each carry maximum penalties of three years in prison, and the fraud convictions each carry maximum penalties of five years in prison.
However, that jury also cleared her of two additional charges of federal workers’ compensation fraud and of a charge of defrauding a federal program that paid most of the cost of the 2007 Windsor Road culvert replacement project done by Marshall Swan.
On Oct. 2, 2013, Marshall Swan, 56, was convicted by a jury of five counts of filing false income tax returns for the years 2006-2010. The Swans filed their returns jointly.
Both Swans remain free on bail pending sentencing, and while presentencing conferences for both Swans are scheduled to take place over the next few weeks, no date has been set for sentencing hearings.
The defense attorneys – Leonard Sharon, who represents Carole Swan; and Walter McKee, who represents Marshall Swan – will file their own sentencing memos on behalf of their respective clients. Sharon did not respond to an email request for comment.
On Tuesday, McKee said, “We intend to vigorously contest the suggestion that Marshall Swan engaged in any of this conduct involving Frank Monroe.”
Clark’s memo says the Swans’ sentences should be enhanced for obstruction of justice for “threatening, intimidating, or otherwise unlawfully influencing a ... witness ... directly or indirectly, or attempting to do so,” committing perjury and giving false information to a judge.
Clark also says the same confidential informant was talking to Marshall Swan in September 2013 about damaging Monroe’s equipment, and Marshall Swan told him that he and Carole were staying together at her sister’s house “and that the whole thing in court with the abuse and them not living together was a show.”
The same informant also told authorities that while Carole Swan “turned in Doris Reed for stealing money from the Chelsea Town Office,” Swan was involved as well.
Reed, a former Chelsea assistant town manager and tax collector, was sentenced in October 1997 to eight years in prison with all but four suspended for embezzling more than a quarter-million dollars of the town’s vehicle excise tax money from 1988 to 1992. She later died.
Clark also wrote that Carole Swan “made no mention of being a battered spouse” when she initially was questioned by Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputies after she was found with a sting package they had given to Monroe.
Carole Swan’s trial was severed from Marshall Swan’s when she indicated her defense would be that if she committed any crimes, it was because of domestic abuse Marshall Swan had inflicted on her throughout their relationship, beginning before their marriage in 1984.
Clark cited a note from Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuck, who found that Carole Swan’s testimony at a suppression hearing “highly strategic in nature and less than reliable.”
Swan testified at that hearing that she could read little beyond numbers.
Clark countered that claim in his memo: “She reads and writes well enough to have graduated from high school, been employed as a rural mail carrier and been a selectman in Chelsea for 19 years. She was also capable of reading contracts and transcripts during the trial, at least when her counsel was asking her to do so.”
Clark also said Carole Swan lied about her whereabouts during the trial, denied owning a horse racing business operated by her brother despite claiming tax losses for it, and lied about being unable to work when she was the full-time bookkeeper for Marshall Swan Construction.
The prosecutor says Carole Swan pressured people, including town officials, to give road work to her husband and, contrary to what she claimed, was not investigating Monroe for allegedly shortchanging Chelsea when he delivered sand; “she was extorting money from him, as the jury found.”
“She was not 100 percent disabled as she claimed, but was self-employed and involved in numerous business activities and capable of scurrying down the crater left in Chelsea by the Patriot’s Day Storm.”
Clark does not suggest any specific length of prison term for either Swan.