CAMDEN, N.J.– A Camden County guy today admitted his function in conspiring with members of a white supremacist hate group to threaten and daunt African Americans and Jewish Americans by vandalizing minority-owned properties throughout the country in September 2019, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Richard Tobin, 19, of Brooklawn, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to an info charging him with conspiracy versus rights before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court.
“Americans need to never ever need to fear racist, antisemitic or any other form of bias-motivated violence,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig stated. “This offender motivated despiteful acts of violence against individuals and their houses of worship, based entirely on their religious beliefs or the color of their skin. Together with our coworkers in the Civil Rights Division and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, this Office will continue to work every day to determine individuals like him and bring them promptly to justice.”
“The FBI and our partners simply will not endure criminal offenses spurred by hate, which are meant to daunt and isolate the groups targeted,” Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division, said. “People of all races and faiths should have to feel safe in their neighborhoods. Richard Tobin motivated others to victimize innocent people, in furtherance of his abhorrent white supremacist beliefs. While we all deserve to think whatever we desire, when those views cause violence, that's a different and harmful story.”
“Conspiring with others to vandalize and damage residential or commercial property owned by African-Americans and Jewish Americans will not be endured by the Department of Justice,” stated Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pam Karlan of the Civil Rights Division. “Every individual must feel protected knowing they deserve to own and utilize their residential or commercial property free from being targeted since of their race or religion. We will continue to secure the civil rights of all people and vigorously prosecute predisposition motivated criminal offenses.”
According to files filed in this case and statements made in court:
Tobin confessed that from Sept. 15 to Sept. 23, 2019, he belonged to a white supremacist group, “The Base,” and throughout that time, he communicated online with other members and directed them to damage and vandalize residential or commercial properties associated with African Americans and Jewish Americans. Tobin dubbed this collaborated attack “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” after an attack in Germany on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, in which Nazis killed Jewish individuals and burned and ruined Jewish homes, synagogues, stores and schools. Tobin implored members of The Base to publish propaganda flyers and to break windows and slash tires belonging to African Americans and Jewish Americans. On Sept. 21, 2019, members of The Base vandalized synagogues in Racine, Wisconsin, and Hancock, Michigan, by spray painting them with hate symbols.
A conspirator, Yousef Omar Barasneh, formerly pleaded guilty to conspiracy against rights in federal court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, for his role in vandalizing the synagogue in Racine, Wisconsin. The conspiracy charge carries an optimal prospective charge of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine, or two times the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater. Sentencing is arranged for June 28, 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI Philadelphia Division's South Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Driscoll, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force and its member companies, including the Department of Homeland Security– Homeland Security Investigations, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, the New Jersey State Police and the Camden County Police Department, with the investigation causing today's guilty plea. She likewise thanked the Brooklawn and Cherry Hill authorities departments for their support.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen M. Harberg of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Camden and Trial Attorney Eric Peffley of the Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section.