Legal Issues and Fraud and Criminal Charges and Courts and Appeal and Law

Ex-Countrymark CEO denied early prison release

August 23, 2012

Former Countrymark CEO David Swanson lost his appeal on Wednesday to be released from prison early.

The 69-year-old former financial executive is serving a 12-year sentence on wire fraud, money laundering and tax-evasion charges.

A federal appeals court in October heard his appeal that claimed his lawyers were derelict in not seeking a mistrial after the government presented its case.

Swanson argued during a March 2011 hearing in Indianapolis that the government failed to disclose evidence favorable to him and that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel.

But, in a May ruling, Judge Sarah Evans Barker picked apart Swanson’s arguments, including a claim that his attorneys—James Voyles and Jennifer Lukemeyer—were derelict in not seeking a mistrial after the government presented its case.

The federal appeals court in Chicago, however, agreed to hear his appeal of Barker’s ruling, which it affirmed.

Swanson’s lawyers argued that he should have served no more than eight years and one month had his previous counsel effectively defended him.

“Swanson advances an implausible interpretation: his trial counsel waived his objection to the [sentencing] enhancement,” the federal judges wrote in denying his appeal. “The record simply doesn’t support this interpretation.”

A jury found Swanson guilty in October 2002 of stealing $2.7 million from Countrymark, an Indianapolis-based agricultural cooperative, in the late 1990s.

He failed to appear for sentencing in March 2003 and was apprehended in Seattle about three weeks later.

 

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