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Former Countryside police chief indicted for fraud

SPRINGFIELD – A former Countryside police chief, Timothy J. Swanson, was indicted on fraud and money-laundering charges March 12.

The charges stemmed from a nonprofit helicopter fundraising program run by Swanson.

Swanson, 55, received a seven-count indictment charging him with money laundering, mail fraud, tax evasion and filing false tax returns for his Illinois Regional Air Support Service, according to the U.S. Attorney's office for the Central District of Illinois.

The Bourbonnais resident began the program in 2005 after claiming it would utilize U.S. Department of Defense helicopters to support law enforcement, according to the indictment.

Swanson allegedly solicited more than $350,000 in donations for the program between 2005 and 2012 from police departments, corporations and individuals, stated in the indictment.

According to the indictment, Swanson made more than $186,000 in personal purchases with the IRASS credit card, used donations to pay off credit cards, lied to get donations and under-reported the money to the IRS.

After Swanson allegedly submitted fraudulent invoices to the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System for addition grant money in 2006, more than $73,000 was added into the helicopter service's bank account. The indictment claims that in February of 2007, Swanson allegedly moved $75,000 from the account into his personal account, spending it two years after to pay off his wife's Sears card.

According to the indictment, Swanson is also accused of evading income taxes in 2007 and 2008 along with filing false income tax returns in 2009 and 2010.

If convicted, mail fraud and money laundering charges carry a maximum of 20 years in prison, tax evasion comes with up to five years and filing false returns carries a penalty of up to three years.

Swanson is set to be arraigned April 2 in federal court in Urbana, Ill. The government is seeking more than $189,000 from Swanson, along with $7,573, representing a personal money judgment.

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