A woman used her paralegal position in the New Jersey U.S. Attorney's Office to identify "snitches" cooperating with authorities against her son, an alleged gang member in New York, according to federal prosecutors.
Tawanna Hilliard, 44, allegedly used work computers in 2016 to help her son's Bronx 5-9 Brims set of the Bloods street gang find cooperating witnesses against the crew, NJ.com reported. She was accused of conducting the searches at the behest of high-ranking members within the set.
Hilliard's 28-year-old son, Tyquan, who also was named in the indictment, has been serving a 10-year prison sentence for robbery and is set to be arraigned on other federal charges at a later date.
She pleaded guilty Tuesday to witness tampering, obstruction of justice and obtaining information from a government computer.
Federal prosecutors alleged that Hilliard also posted a video on YouTube in 2018 showing a post-arrest statement given by her son's co-defendant, identified as John Doe, about a May 2018 robbery in New York to prove he was "snitching," according to court documents cited by the New York Post.
She allegedly titled the video: "NYC Brim Gang Member Snitching Pt. 1.” The witness received death threats from fellow Bloods inmates after the video was posted. His family was also threatened, the paper reported.
Investigators searched Hilliard's Brooklyn home in September 2018 and found video interviews with John Doe and another accomplice on her computer.
They also recovered text messages in which Hilliard said her son “has no line of defense because his co-d told everything." In another text, she said “John Doe was ‘giving up murders, victims, shooters and all . . . SMH’” court documents say.
Hilliard's son allegedly sent letters to the FBI and a senior Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of New York — threating to upload more video clips of John Doe's statement in an apparent effort to put him in more danger.
Hilliard was released on $75,000 bond and ordered not to have contact with her son and other gang members. She was also ordered to wear an ankle bracelet.
A spokesman for the New Jersey U.S. Attorney said Hilliard worked in the office's civil division for nine years, according to NJ.com.