News and Press Releases

Two Williamsport Residents Charged With Conspiracy To Submit False Income Tax Returns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2013

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that charges have been filed against Cheryl Cobia and Sharieff Wilkins, both of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Cobia, age 27, is charged with conspiracy to file false income tax returns claiming false refunds between 2009 and 2011. It is alleged she attempted to receive refunds totaling more than $1,000,000.  She is also charged with making false statements in applications for food stamp and medical assistance benefits. 

     Wilkins, age 35, is charged with conspiracy to submit false claims to the United States government. The charge alleges he submitted multiple false income tax returns for himself and others for tax years 2009-2011 and claimed refunds to which he was not entitled. 

     The investigations were conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division and the Office of Inspector General Department of Health and Human Services. Assistant United States Attorney Wayne P. Samuelson is assigned to prosecute the cases.

     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 these particular cases, the maximum penalty under the federal statute for both defendants is 10 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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