N.J. Man Heads to Prison for Conspiring With White Supremacists in 'Kristallnacht' Attack

A New Jersey man was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for conspiring with members of a white supremacist hate group to threaten minority-owned businesses across the country.

Richard Tobin, 20, of Brooklawn, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty to charges for his role in a scheme to intimidate Black and Jewish Americans by vandalizing properties they owned throughout the country in September 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Tobin was sentenced in federal court on Tuesday.

"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," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said.

She continued, "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."

Tobin admitted that he was a member of a white supremacist group called "The Base" from September 15 to September 23, 2019. During that time, he interacted with other members of the hate group and directed them to vandalize and destroy properties affiliated with Black and Jewish Americans, according to court documents.

Neo-Nazis Protest Outside Skokie Holocaust Museum Dedication
A New Jersey man was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for conspiring with members of a white supremacist hate group to threaten minority-owned businesses across the country. Pictured: Neo-Nazi protestors organized by the National Socialist Movement demonstrate near the grand-opening ceremonies for the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center on April 19, 2009, in Skokie, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The 20-year-old dubbed what he hoped would be a coordinated attack as "Kristallnacht," or "Night of Broken Glass," after the November 1938 pogrom against Jews in Germany orchestrated by the Nazi party. During the attack, Nazis murdered Jewish people and destroyed Jewish homes, synagogues, stores and schools by burning or vandalizing them.

Members of The Base vandalized synagogues in Racine, Wisconsin, and Hancock, Michigan, on September 21, 2019, by spray-painting them with hate symbols, according to the DOJ.

"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."

Yousef Omar Barasneh, another conspirator, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy against rights in Wisconsin federal court for his role in vandalizing the synagogue.

Tobin faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater, after pleading guilty in February 2021. In addition to his yearlong prison term, Tobin was also sentenced to three years' supervised release.

Newsweek reached out to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia for comment.