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Press Release

Chambersburg Woman Sentenced To 36 Months In Prison For Extortionate Attempt To Shut Down A Rival Tax Preparation Business

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Maria Colvard, age 50, of Chambersburg, was sentenced today to 36 months in prison by United States District Court Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner in Harrisburg, for extortion in connection with an attempt to shut down a rival tax preparation business.

Colvard was convicted in June 2015 after a four-day jury trial on two counts of extortion and one count of aiding the impersonation of an employee of the United States.        

According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, between February and May 2013, Colvard convinced an employee at Tax Max LLC, a tax preparation service owned by Colvard in Chambersburg and Hanover, Pennsylvania, to claim to be a criminal investigator with the Internal Revenue Service to shut down the rival business, known as Christina’s Tax Service, also located in Chambersburg.  The employee, Merarys Paulino, then claimed to be an IRS agent and demanded money from Christina’s Tax Service as well as its client list. Paulino previously entered a guilty plea to impersonating an IRS agent.

Colvard also faces deportation as a non-citizen.

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

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Updated March 3, 2016