A Decatur County woman arrested on charges of defrauding MainSource Bank and the Adams Township Volunteer Fire Department (ATVFD) of more than $47,000 was released from the Decatur County Jail Wednesday morning after posting a $30,000 bond.
Following a roughly three-month long investigation by the Indiana State Police (ISP), Laurie L. Swegman, 47, has been charged with two counts of defrauding a financial institution (Class C Felony), related to her job as treasurer of the ATVFD.
According to a police report filed in Decatur County Circuit Court, an ISP detective was alerted on Oct. 2, to a possible fraud involving Swegman and the ATVFD savings account at MainSource.
Michael Riley, MainSource’s risk management officer, and Shannon Goss, bank security and fraud manager, allegedly spotted evidence of fraudulent transactions from the ATVFD account amounting to $42,000.
According to the report, Goss and Riley offered documentation that, starting in July 2011, shortly after Swegman became ATVFD treasurer, she began transferring money, in various amounts, from the fire department account into her own personal MainSource account and into the MainSource accounts of her two children, ages 22 and 24.
They presented further documentation that, in the same two-year period, Swegman also paid back $26,000.
Detectives obtained subpoenas to gain access to Swegman’s account history and to the account histories of her two children. A thorough review of the Swegman accounts side-by-side with the ATVFD account confirmed the findings by Riley and Goss: “Laurie L. Swegman had stolen in excess of $42,000 of fire department money for her own personal use.”
Police then contacted Swegman for an interview, which she agreed to. On Dec. 11, an ISP detective met Swegman in her office at Hill-Rom corporate offices in Batesville. According to the police report, the detective first made clear that Swegman was under no obligation to speak, but she agreed to be interviewed.
During that interview, Swegman allegedly confirmed that she’d been appointed ATVFD treasurer in July 2011 and that she’d stolen a large sum of money from the ATVFD MainSource accounts, starting in July 2011.
The police report further alleges that Swegman admitted that most of the money she transferred from the ATVFD account into her own account during the two-year timeframe was spent on shopping sprees. Swegman also allegedly told the detective her husband, former ATVFD fire chief Danny Joseph Swegman, is “currently very ill,” causing significant financial problems for her family.
The detective pointed out, however, that MainSource records don’t support the contention that medical expenses played a role in Swegman’s theft. Instead, records indicate that, following a money transfer, Swegman would, “begin to spend and shop that very same date.” According to the report, Swegman admitted this was the case.
She was also allegedly surprised when told the total sum of her two-year theft, but allegedly confirmed that the number was “probably correct.” Swegman also stressed, however, that she fully intended to repay the entire amount.
On Dec. 16, Swegman again met voluntarily with detectives, this time at the ISP post in Versailles. After being informed of her Miranda rights, the report states, Swegman signed a form acknowledging she understood her rights and still agreed to “have a conversation” with detectives.
During this second, recorded-and-video-taped interview, Swegman allegedly reconfirmed the information from the Dec. 11 interview. When asked if she could remember why and how the theft began, Swegman allegedly replied, “Two kids in college, rent and school fees, and a sick husband.”
Swegman again told detectives she used some of the money to pay medical expenses, specifically for prescriptions and co-pays.
Detectives then presented Swegman with complete records of banking transaction and spending activity from six dates, starting in early August 2011 and ending in mid-October 2011, the details of which are outlined in the police report.
Those transactions include transfers of $700, $300, $200, $1,200 and $800, totaling $3,200, from the ATVFD account. On the six dates in question, Swegman conducted 39 transactions totaling $2,774.58.
A review of those transactions by the Daily News shows that Swegman conducted most of those at department stores, other shopping outlets and restaurants. She also purchased gas, made online purchases, paid for hair care, and made a number of ATM withdrawals.
Of those 39 transactions, the suspect spent at total of $107.83 on three transactions at CVS Pharmacy and one at Walgreens.
According to the police report, Swegman allegedly admitted to all the transfers and expenditures, telling investigators she understood “how it looks,” and that many of the transactions were “for the kids.”
She further denied that her children were aware the money was being transferred into their accounts, allegedly telling detectives the two didn’t keep track of their accounts but only spent money from them as needed, without record keeping. “They absolutely had no idea,” she allegedly told detectives.
Written by Rob Cox