A New Jersey man was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison for his role in conspiring with members of a white supremacist hate group to threaten and intimidate African Americans and Jewish Americans by vandalizing minority-owned properties throughout the country in September 2019.
Richard Tobin, 20, of Brooklawn, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler to information charging him with conspiracy against rights. Judge Kugler imposed the sentence Nov. 17 in Camden federal court.
“The defendant conspired with a white supremacist hate group to vandalize and destroy property owned by Jewish and Black Americans, intending to instill fear into those communities across the country,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
“This sentence makes clear that targeting persons owning and using property simply based on their race or religion will not be tolerated. The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute civil rights conspiracies and vindicate the rights of victims of bias motivated crimes,” Clarke said.
“Richard Tobin encouraged hateful acts of violence against individuals and their houses of worship, based on their religion or the color of their skin,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig of the District of New Jersey.
“Justice demanded that he be held accountable for these racist and anti-Semitic actions and we are proud to have joined with our colleagues in the Civil Rights Division and the Joint Terrorism Task Force in doing so in this case. Our commitment to protecting the civil rights of all in New Jersey is steadfast,” Honig said.
“Richard Tobin’s white supremacist beliefs are abhorrent but his beliefs aren’t why he’s going to prison,” said Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He actively conspired with others to commit a crime of violence, to victimize innocent people because of who they are or how they worship. That’s what crossed a line and made it the FBI’s business. We’re always going to pursue individuals inciting violent, hateful acts meant to intimidate and isolate members of our community.”
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, Tobin admitted that from Sept. 15 to Sept. 23, 2019, he was a member of a white supremacist group, “The Base,” and during that time, he communicated online with other members and directed them to destroy and vandalize properties affiliated with African Americans and Jewish Americans.
Tobin dubbed this coordinated attack “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” after an attack in Germany on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, in which Nazis murdered Jewish people and burned and destroyed Jewish homes, synagogues, stores and schools.
Tobin implored members of The Base to post 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, previously 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.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Kugler sentenced Tobin to three years of supervised release.
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 Maguire, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force and its member agencies, 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 leading to Wednesday’s sentencing. She also thanked the Brooklawn and Cherry Hill Police Departments for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen M. Harberg of the District of New Jersey and Trial Attorney Eric Peffley of the Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section.