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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 17, 2014

Previously Indicted Chambersburg Woman Charged With Two Counts Of Tampering With A Witness

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a federal grand jury in Harrisburg handed up a second-superseding indictment charging Maria Colvard, age 48, of Chambersburg, on January 15, 2014, charging her with two counts of tampering with a witness in addition to previous charges of extortion, aiding and abetting false personation of an employee of the United States, and interference with commerce by threats.

     According to U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith, between February and May 2013, Colvard convinced an employee to claim to be a criminal investigator with the Internal Revenue Service in order to collect alleged taxes owed, gain a client list from a rival tax preparation business and to ultimately shut down the business, Cristina’s Tax Service, LLC.  Maria Colvard is the owner of Tax Max LLC, a tax preparation service.

     Colvard was first indicted in June 2013, arrested and ordered released pending trial.  A superseding indictment was filed in November 2013. Colvard allegedly offered her employee $50,000 if she would take responsibility for the underlying crimes without cooperating with law enforcement or involving Colvard.  On January 6, 2014, Colvard allegedly went to the business of her co-defendant’s husband and confronted her co-defendant in an attempt to get her co-defendant not to testify against Colvard.  Part of the conditions of Colvard’s pre-trial release required Colvard not to have any contact, direct or indirect, with her co-defendant. 

     U.S. Attorney Smith stated the government will investigate promptly and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law allegations of witness tampering in federal cases.

     If convicted of all five charges, Colvard faces up to 66 years’ imprisonment and fines of up to $1,250,000.

     This case is being investigated by the United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daryl F. Bloom.

     Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is 66 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

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Updated April 9, 2015