A federal appeals court on Monday affirmed the convictions of former Chelsea Selectwoman Carole Swan for extortion, tax fraud and federal workers’ compensation fraud.

Swan, now 58, is at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, serving an 87-month sentence and is due to be released Dec. 6, 2020, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons website.

She was convicted Sept. 17, 2013, on three counts of extortion for using her position as a selectwoman to seek kickbacks from Frank Monroe, who held the contract to plow and sand Chelsea’s roads.

On July 27, 2013, after a separate trial, she was convicted of two counts of workers’ compensation fraud that occurred Aug. 1, 2008, and May 7, 2010, and five counts of income tax fraud for the years 2006-2010. At that same trial, she was acquitted of defrauding the federal government on a 2007 Windsor Road culvert project and two additional workers’ compensation fraud counts.

The case divided the town of Chelsea, which had to bring in an attorney to help sort out continuing governance.

On June 13, 2014, Swan was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison and fined $125,000.


The 1st Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in her appeal 14 months ago in Boston.

The appeal focused on a two-hour period on Feb. 3, 2011, when Swan was being questioned by two Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputies who had set up a sting after Monroe came to them to say she demanded kickbacks for continuing his contract.

Then-Lt. Ryan Reardon and Detective David Bucknam approached her in the parking lot of a dry cleaner after photographing her accepting a package of money from Monroe on Chapel Street in Augusta.

Jurors were shown excepts of that videotaped interview.

In the latest appeal, attorney Darla Mondou, who argued on behalf of Swan at oral arguments, told the three-judge panel that Swan was in custody and not advised of her rights during that time.

The judges disagreed.


“Even assuming that the confrontation in the parking lot was custodial, Swan was not entitled to a Miranda warning unless she remained in custody at the stationhouse when she made the statements now at issue,” Chief Judge Jeffrey R. Howard wrote in the opinion. “Based on the totality of the circumstances, we conclude that the interview at the stationhouse was non-custodial.”

He continued, “… the deputies prefaced their questioning by telling Swan that she was ‘not under arrest,’ that she was free to leave ‘(a)t any point,’ and that it was ‘fine’ if she did not ‘want to have (a) conversation’ with them. These unambiguous statements would have led a reasonable person in Swan’s position to understand that she was not ‘in custody.’…”

The government, represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret D. McGaughey, urged the judges to uphold the decision by a magistrate judge who presided at the initial hearing in December 2012 on a motion to suppress that interview and found that Swan was not in custody and that her statements were admissible.

On Tuesday, Mondou said via email that she did not know yet if Swan would be asking for a rehearing or to go further with the case.

“Future action will be determined,” Mondou said. “I believe a strong argument can be made in (the) future.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark, who was the prosecutor at trial, said Tuesday in an email, “The First Circuit affirmed Carole Swan’s conviction because she was not in custody when she voluntarily confessed to Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office deputies that she extorted money from Frank Monroe and took kickbacks from other contractors. Those conclusions were amply supported by the facts of her case and law.”


Clark is also public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Swan’s appeal to the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest in a long series of court battles in the case.

In November 2014, U.S. District Court Judge John A. Woodcock Jr., who presided over both jury trials, rejected Swan’s attempt to add an enhanced transcript of that interview. The enhanced transcript would have clarified passages listed as “unintelligible” on the transcript submitted as evidence at Swan’s trials, Mondou had maintained.

On Oct. 22, 2014, Woodcock also rejected Swan’s second bid for freedom pending appeal.

The case began in 2011 with charges in state court, but moved to federal court after Swan and her husband, Marshall Swan, were indicted by federal grand juries on a number of charges, including income tax fraud. The Swans filed their tax returns jointly.

Marshall Swan was convicted at a separate jury trial of five counts of federal income tax fraud covering tax years 2006-2010 and served a 33-month prison term. He has since been released. The Swans paid all the taxes owed plus Carole Swan’s restitution for workers compensation fraud and for damage to Monroe’s equipment, as well as fines imposed, a total of more than $400,000.

Betty Adams — 621-5631


Twitter: @betadams

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