When force or threat of force is used to interfere with rights guaranteed by the Fair Housing Act, the Department of Justice may bring criminal prosecutions that can result in prison sentences and/or fines for those convicted of such crimes. These crimes include cross burnings, arson, fire bombings, vandalism to property, written and oral threats, and assaults on persons attempting to exercise their fair housing rights.
Individuals who believe they have been victims of such crimes may file complaints with the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, which is responsible for directing investigations and prosecutions of such crimes.
Individuals may also file complaints with the Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD], which will refer the complaint to the Department of Justice if HUD believes a criminal investigation may be warranted. HUD will hold its own investigation in abeyance pending completion of a criminal investigation. >