Second defendant in MarCon fraud case sentenced

jsowell@idahostatesman.comMarch 19, 2014 

The business partner and onetime boyfriend of MarCon president Elaine Martin was sentenced Wednesday to three months in federal prison.

Darrell Swigert, 68, was also sentenced to two years of supervised release, fined $5,000 and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, during a hearing before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.

Swigert, who owned about 12 percent of MarCon, was convicted in September of two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. He was accused of conspiring with Martin and others to provide false information to an Internal Revenue Service agent who was conducting an audit of Martin and MarCon's finances.

The jury heard that Swigert provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans to MarCon and another affiliated company. Swigert denied knowledge of those loans when he testified before a grand jury. He was also accused of fabricating documents designed to conceal more than $250,000 in loans he held off the books for Martin.

The jury also heard evidence that Swigert assisted Martin in submitting fraudulent applications so MarCon could qualify for two federal programs meant to assist disadvantaged businesses. The government said Martin took steps to make it appear her company earned less than it did.

"The behavior for which Mr. Swigert was convicted was entirely out of character and an extreme departure from the upstanding citizen he has been during his entire life," defense attorney Raymond Aghaian wrote in a pre-sentence memo to the court, asking Winmill to sentence his client to probation.

Aghaian noted the good works of Swigert through a foundation that assisted youths who played ice hockey or who competed in figure skating. He supported the Idaho Junior Steelheads, a team for players 17 to 20 that is based in Boise but plays its games in McCall. The junior circuit is an intermediate step between youth hockey and college and professional hockey in North America.

Todd York, treasurer with the Idaho Hockey Foundation, told Winmill in a letter that Swigert provided financial assistance to dozens of children whose families could not afford to pay for hockey equipment and other expenses.

"Approximately 100 young hockey players have been able to pursue their dreams of playing collegiate hockey because of Darrell's generous financial support to the Junior Stealheads," he wrote.

Swigert suffers from several life-threatening medical conditions that would be better treated outside prison and at Swigert's expense, Aghaian wrote. He said Swigert would not get the proper care in prison.

The attorney also noted that Swigert gave up his financial interest in MarCon when the company was sold recently. Martin was ordered to repay $3.1 million, the amount she earned in profits from the contracts she was awarded because of her fraud. The entire amount from buyer Concrete Placing Co. of Boise went toward the repayment.

Martin was sentenced Feb. 27 to 84 months in prison. She was convicted of wire, mail and tax fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $131,400 and to pay prosecution costs of $22,860.

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