WASHINGTON – Adam J. Bonito and Christopher D. Giaquinto were charged today in an one-count information for carrying out a criminal conspiracy that interfered with the fair housing rights of two Muslim families living in Revere, Mass. The defendants were charged in U.S. District Court in Boston with repeatedly vandalizing and damaging vehicles parked in front of the duplex home shared by the two families in 2004 and 2005.
The charging document alleges that the defendants conspired to vandalize a van believed to belong to one of the residents in order to interfere with the housing rights of the families because of their race, religion or national origin. The intended victim was a member of an Arab Muslim family living at a duplex residence in Revere.
On Sept. 19, 2004, the defendants, along with other co-conspirators not named in the information, allegedly vandalized and damaged a Nissan van parked outside the victims’ home, breaking a windshield and several windows and damaging the metal body of the van. On four subsequent occasions during January and March of 2005, Bonito and another conspirator vandalized a Dodge van, parked in front of the residence, which they believed belonged to the same family, but which in fact belonged to another Muslim family living in the same duplex.
In addition, federal juvenile delinquency proceedings have been instituted against a third person involved in the conspiracy for his bias-motivated acts of vandalism.
The charge set forth in an information is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
If convicted of the charge, Bonito and Giaquinto face a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine, one year supervised release, and an unspecified amount of restitution for the victims. The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by S. Theodore Merritt, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Unit in the District of Massachusetts, and Barry Kowalski, Special Legal Counsel for the Criminal Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.