BOSTON - The former acting Chief Probation Officer of the Hampshire Superior Court was charged today in federal court with intimidating and harassing a witness in an attempt to obstruct a federal investigation into hiring practices within the Office of the Commissioner of Probation.
Christopher Hoffman, 39, Hatfield, Mass., was arrested this morning and charged in a criminal complaint with two counts of obstruction of justice. He will appear in U.S. District Court in Worcester later today.
The complaint alleges that on October 18 and 19, 2011, Hoffman – in his capacity as Acting Chief Probation Officer of the Hampshire Superior Court – made threatening and intimidating remarks to Maureen Adams, a probation officer under his supervision. On Oct. 19, 2011, Adams was scheduled to be interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with the federal investigation into the alleged fraudulent hiring practices at the Office of the Commissioner of Probation. Adams told Hoffman about her impending interview because it required her absence from work. It is alleged that Hoffman’s remarks included statements to the effect of: “I’m going to tell everyone that you are a rat.” Hoffman also allegedly made misleading statements regarding his relationship with former Deputy Commissioner William Burke. It is alleged that Adams believed Hoffman’s remarks were intended to be intimidating and influence her statements to the FBI.
If convicted on these charges, Hoffman faces up to 20 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for intimidating a witness. Hoffman faces up to three years in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for harassment of a witness.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karin Bell, Fred Wyshak and Rob Fisher of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit and the Worcester Branch Office.
The details contained in the criminal complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.