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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 16, 2020

Superseding Indictment Charges Man for Making Threats Against a Maryland Synagogue

A federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Stephen Orback, 65, for threatening on multiple occasions to attack a Baltimore-area synagogue. Count One charges Orback with intentionally attempting to obstruct persons in the enjoyment of their free exercise of religious beliefs through the threatened use of force, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 247. Count Two charges Orback with making threatening interstate communications, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 875.

According to the superseding indictment, between May 12 and July 21, 2019, Orback made numerous telephone calls to an employee of a synagogue in Owings Mills, Maryland, threatening to kill members of the synagogue’s congregation with firearms, by using explosives, and by burning the synagogue down. The superseding indictment replaces a previous indictment, handed down by the grand jury on Aug. 15, 2019, which charged the defendant only with the interstate-threats count. 

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. If convicted, Orback faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. 

The case is being investigated by the FBI's Baltimore Field Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney P. Michael Cunningham of the District of Maryland and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Zachary Dembo.

For more information about the Department of Justice’s work to combat and prevent hate crimes, visit www.justice.gov/hatecrimes: a one-stop portal with links to Department of Justice hate crimes resources for law enforcement, media, researchers, victims, advocacy groups, and other organizations and individuals.

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Hate Crimes
Press Release Number: 
20-50
Updated January 16, 2020