Government seeks $12 million in MarCon forfeitures

Idaho StatesmanSeptember 24, 2013 

Elaine Martin

STATESMAN FILE PHOTO

— Federal prosecutors have filed a forfeiture motion seeking $9.2 million in cash and $2.7 million in homes and properties from Meridian contractor Elaine Martin, convicted last week of 22 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and filing false tax returns.

The cash portion of the motion represents what Martin's company, MarCon Inc., received from illegal contracts obtained from the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Martin understated company and personal assets to make it appear MarCon qualified for millions of dollars worth of highway construction projects that should have gone to small, disadvantaged companies.

The largest of the five properties sought by the government is MarCon's corporate headquarters at 1881 W. MarCon way in Meridian. The property, which contains 13 acres of land and a 17,993-square-foot building, is valued at $2.1 million, according to assessment records from the Ada County Assessor's Office.

The government also seeks title to Martin's North Hickory Way residence in Meridian. The three-bedroom, 2,423-square-foot home, built in 2001, covers a quarter-acre and is valued at $240,700.

A home and adjoining parcel on Morning Drive along Lake Cascade in Donnelly are valued at $351,081, according to the Valley County Assessor's Office. Those properties are owned by corporations headed by Martin and co-defendant Darrell Swigert, who was convicted of obstruction of justice in helping Martin to cover up her crimes.

Martin and Swigert had a onetime romantic relationship. Annual reports filed for one of their companies, Uncompahgre, listed the North Hickory Way address for both of them until 2011, when Swigert, who was an investor in MarCon, submitted a Boise address.

The fifth property is an undeveloped 2.4-acre parcel on Half Moon Lane in Eagle. It is assessed at $50,000.

Martin, who once served as president of Idaho Associated General Contractors lobbying group, and Swigert are scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 9 before U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.

Martin was taken into custody after Thursday's jury verdict. Her attorney filed a motion to allow Martin to remain free until sentencing. Swigert, founder of Idaho's Junior Steelheads hockey team and who runs a charitable foundation, remained free on bond.

Winmill said he would consider releasing her. A hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday.

He also attached several conditions for a possible release. Martin would be required to surrender her passport and disclose all properties in which he has financial interest, as well as those held by MarCon and an affiliated company, MC Group. She would also have to disclose professional or personal connections to any other companies.

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