Camden County man pleads guilty to conspiring with national white supremacy group

Mitchel H. Cohen United States Courthouse in Camden, N.J.

Mitchell H. Cohen United States Courthouse in Camden, N.J. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A South Jersey man admitted on Friday that he conspired with white supremacist hate group members to intimidate Black and Jewish people throughout the country in September 2019.

Richard Tobin, 19, of Brooklawn pleaded guilty to conspiracy against rights in Camden federal court before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Krugler.

“Americans should never have to fear racist, antisemitic or any other form of bias-motivated violence,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said. “This defendant encouraged hateful acts of violence against individuals and their houses of worship, based solely on their religion or the color of their skin. … This office will continue to work every day to identify individuals like him and bring them swiftly to justice.”

According to court documents and statements, Tobin admitted that from Sept. 15-23, 2019, he was a member of the white supremacist group “The Base,” during which he spoke with other members online and directed them to destroy and vandalize properties associated with Black and Jewish people, calling their attack “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” referencing the 1938 attack in Germany where Nazis murdered Jewish people, and burned and destroyed their homes, schools, businesses, and synagogues.

In his correspondence, Tobin told members of The Base to post propaganda flyers and to break windows and slash tires that belonged to Black and Jewish people. On Sept. 21, 2019, members of the white supremacist group spraypainted hate symbols on synagogues in Racine, Wisconsin and Hancock, Michigan.

“The FBI and our partners simply won’t tolerate crimes spurred by hate, which are meant to intimidate and isolate the groups targeted,” said Michael J. Driscoll, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia division. “People of all races and faiths deserve to feel safe in their communities. Richard Tobin encouraged others to victimize innocent people, in furtherance of his abhorrent white supremacist beliefs.”

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater. Tobin’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 28.

According to FBI crime statistics data, New Jersey had 472 incidents where a hate crime was reported in 2019.

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal