A Queens tax preparer has been sentenced to three to six years in prison after he sent threatening letters to a prosecutor who was investigating him for stealing from his clients.

Jack Chang, 55, was also sentenced to three years of post-release supervision and ordered to pay more than $116,000 in restitution to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Chang pleaded guilty on July 16 to felony charges of grand larceny and placing a false bomb or hazardous substance, both in the second degree. The charges stem from when Chang was arrested in April 2009 for stealing more than $100,000 from at least six clients. Less than two months later, the assistant district attorney prosecuting that case received two letters from Chang, one of which contained a white, powdery substance. Both letters threatened her with physical harm and death, as did a third, unsent letter found at Chang’s home.

Assistant District Attorney Gilda Mariani, chief of the District Attorney’s Office’s money laundering and tax crimes unit, received two threatening letters from Chang on June 9, 2009. At the time, Mariani had been handling the prosecution of Chang on grand larceny charges, and had previously supervised a 1995 prosecution of Chang for similar crimes, which resulted in his conviction and a state prison sentence.

The first letter was delivered to Mariani’s office. The second letter that Chang sent was delivered to Mariani’s home and addressed to her husband. It contained a white powder that was later determined to be corn starch. The two letters contained a virtually identical message from Chang, who wrote, “I finally got my 9 mil gun and I am insane, you are responsible for my insanity and I will make sure that you get at least one for each and every year I spent incarcerated.”

Mariani’s boss, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., condemned the tax preparer’s actions. “Jack Chang mounted a premeditated and thoroughly researched campaign to intimidate one of our attorneys with letters sent to her home and her workplace, the latter of which contained corn starch meant to look like a toxic substance,” Vance said in a statement.

Initially, investigators assigned to the District Attorney’s Office focused on Chang as a possible writer of the letters in part because one of the letters was delivered through the District Attorney’s Office intra-office mail system, and Chang had been in the District Attorney’s Office on June 4, 2009, and June 5, 2009, in connection with the grand larceny prosecution.

Further evidence investigators obtained against Chang included drafts of the threatening letters sent to Mariani, which were contained in a bag of trash seized in front of Chang’s house. During the execution of a search warrant at Chang’s home, investigators discovered more incriminating evidence, including a computer printout of Mariani’s biography, as well as another threatening letter directed towards her. The letter found at Chang’s home stated, in part, “You will be captured and before you are sent to hell you will taste hell on earth.” Investigators also seized a computer printer and mailing labels resembling those affixed to the letters received by Mariani.

The 2009 grand larceny case against Chang stemmed from his theft of more than $100,000 over a five-year period, between 2003 and 2008. Acting as president of Unitax Planners, PA, an accounting and tax preparation firm in Queens, Chang stole from at least six clients by using checks they intended for payment of their New York State and New York City taxes to pay personal tax expenses of his own. The victims’ checks were for sales and other corporate taxes. Instead of paying the state or the city, Chang applied the checks to real estate property tax or water charges owed in connection with six properties associated with him.

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