For Immediate Release
York Woman Sentenced to Prison for Threatening a Federal Witness Via Social Media
HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Mae Joy Harris, age 25, York, Pennsylvania, who previously pleaded guilty to making threatening interstate communications, was sentenced to four months in prison today by U.S. District Court Judge Yvette Kane in Harrisburg.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the case arose out of a trial in September 2015 involving 12 defendants, known as Southside York gang members. The jury trial testimony included witnesses who were themselves charged criminally and who agreed to cooperate in the prosecution in exchange for favorable consideration in their own cases. One of the witnesses, J.B. aka "Boogie," testified on October 5-6, 2015 as a government witness and implicated former associates in criminal activity. On October 6, 2015, Harris posted on her Facebook profile page under the name "Mae Elliot" and made threatening statements towards J.B. and his family as a consequence of J.B.’s testimony.
Harris was indicted by a federal grand jury in Harrisburg in November 2015, as a result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). She pleaded guilty in January 2016.
According to ATF, this is the first prosecution of a case in the Middle District of Pennsylvania it has had involving use of social media to threaten witnesses. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will prosecute all cases of threats to government witnesses in any form or media as a very high priority.
Judge Kane also ordered Harris to serve one year on supervised release following her prison sentence. Harris is to turn herself into the Federal Bureau of Prisons on July 11, 2016.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Schinnour prosecuted the case.