Trial Begins for Former Chelsea Official Accused of Extortion, Fraud, Tax Evasion 

The trial is underway in Bangor for a former Chelsea selectwoman charged with extortion, tax evasion and fraud.In court Monday, Federal prosecutors painted Carole Swan as a woman who scammed town and federal officials out of thousands and thousands of dollars. Her lawyer claims she’s a woman who only followed the orders of an abusive husband. Marshall Swan is also charged in the case, though a judge ordered last week the couple would be tried separately based on the allegations of abuse. Carole Swan is accused of extorting about $20,000 from a contractor while she served as a selectwoman.And she’s accused of inflating the cost of road projects awarded to her husband’s construction business by about $70,000.Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Clark told the jury, “Carole Swan engineered a scheme to fraud Chelsea by ensuring Marshall Swan Construction was the only company that could win that contract.”Swan’s lawyer, Leonard Sharon, said Swan only did what her husband told her and “she lived to survive. The government will tell you she lived to cheat. She was part and parcel of the town she loved. This was the only prize she still had. Do you think she’d steal from that? No.”Carole Swan is also accused of income tax fraud and falsely obtaining federal workers compensation benefits.The trial is expected to last about three weeks.