U.S. Army Private Arrested for Taking Bribes Related to Duties at Tucson International Airport

TUCSON, Ariz. (LAWFUEL) – U.S. Army Private First Class Christina M. Swenson, 39, of Tucson, was arrested today by the FBI and was charged by federal criminal complaint with Bribery of a Public Official. She is currently in federal custody and will have her initial appearance tomorrow, January 9, 2009, at 2 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Glenda E. Edmonds in Tucson.

The criminal complaint alleges that Swenson, while acting in her official duty, accepted four bribes totaling $3,500. Swenson is assigned to the USO Lounge at the Tucson International Airport (TIA) where her primary official duty is to assist U.S. Army soldiers arriving at TIA to obtain transportation to Fort Huachuca, Ariz. The FBI obtained information that Swenson was soliciting bribes to steer military personnel to transportation companies of her choice. According to the complaint, the owner of one of the shuttle services agreed to cooperate in the investigation and record conversations and meetings with Swenson.

In November and December 2008, the cooperating individual met with Swenson and provided her with $700, $1,000, $800 and $1000 in U.S. Currency at her residence in Tucson on four separate dates. The cooperating individual and Swenson discussed on several occasions that the money was in exchange for Swenson giving the cooperating individual “all the soldiers” to transport. Today, FBI Special Agents arrested Swenson without incident after she received a fifth bribe payment of $1,000.

A conviction for bribery of a public official carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. In determining an actual sentence, the U.S. District Court Judge will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. The prosecution is being handled by Mary Sue Feldmeier, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.

CASE NUMBER: Mag. No. 09-03031M (GEE)

RELEASE NUMBER: 2009-009(Swenson)

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