New Jersey Capitol Building in Trenton
New Jersey Capitol Building in Trenton iStock

A 20-year old New Jersey man was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for conspiring with members of a neo-Nazi group to vandalize synagogues and properties owned by African Americans in September 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Richard Tobin of Brooklawn, New Jersey had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy against rights. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler sentenced him to one year plus a day in prison for “conspiring 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.”

“This sentence makes clear that targeting persons owning and using property simply based on their race or religion will not be tolerated,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clark said. “The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute civil rights conspiracies and vindicate the rights of victims of bias motivated crimes.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig of the District of New Jersey added: “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.”

According to court documents and statements, Tobin admitted that in September 2019 he was a member of the neo-Nazi group “The Base,” during which time he was in contact online with other members and tasked them with vandalizing property affiliated with Jews and African Americans, calling his plan “Kristallnacht” after the 1938 Nazi pogrom against German Jews. Tobin also urged members of The Base to distribute hate flyers and to damage windows and slash tires belonging to Jews and African Americans.

In September 2019, synagogues in Michigan and Wisconsin were vandalized, but Tobin was not a participant in those instances.

Tobin was apprehended by the FBI in November 2019.

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