FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014
TDD (202) 514-1888
LOUISIANA MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR THREATENING WITNESS IN FEDERAL TRIAL
Anthony Williams Used Instagram to Threaten Witness at His Mother's Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Trial
WASHINGTON – Anthony Williams, of Baton Rouge, La., was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release, the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced today. Williams previously pleaded guilty to threatening to retaliate against a witness by causing bodily injury.
According to court documents, Williams is the son of Angela Myers, who was tried in federal court in Baton Rouge in March 2013 for filing fraudulent tax returns with stolen identities. One of the witnesses at Myers' trial was an individual who testified on March 6, 2013, and the next day Williams used Instagram, a popular social media platform, to make a threat against this witness. Williams described the witness as a "rat" and threatened bodily injury against him in retaliation for his testimony. As explained in court documents and court proceedings, federal law enforcement took steps to ensure the safety of the witness and to prevent the threat from being carried out. On March 7, 2013, a jury found Myers guilty on 21 felony counts and she was later sentenced to serve 11 years in prison. Williams was indicted in July 2013 and pleaded guilty to making the threat in October 2013.
"Our legal system depends on witnesses testifying without the fear of retribution," said Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally for the Tax Division. "This prosecution shows that the Justice Department will take action when someone threatens a witness."
"Threatening or intimidating a witness in a federal criminal matter is a quick way to find yourself in federal prison," said U.S. Attorney J. Walter Green for the Middle District of Louisiana. "Our office will continue to have zero tolerance for such conduct and will continue to devote the necessary resources to aggressively pursue those who engage in such conduct. No one should fear speaking the truth about possible federal criminal activity."
"It is extremely important for witnesses who provide testimony in criminal matters to know that our justice system protects them from retaliation," said Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation Gabriel L. Grehan. "It is also appropriate for Anthony Williams to suffer the consequences of his actions to threaten a witness in a criminal proceeding. IRS-CI would like to thank the Department of Justice and our federal law enforcement partners for pursuing this case to its foreseeable end."
Assistant Attorney General Keneally and U.S. Attorney Green commended the efforts of special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation and TIGTA, who investigated the case, and of Tax Division Trial Attorney Jason Poole and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Stevens, who prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at the division website.