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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 30, 2020

Lehighton Man Charged With Internet Threats

SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Corbin Kauffman, age 31, of Lehighton, Pennsylvania, was charged on March 27, 2020, by a criminal information with interstate transmission of threats to injure the person of another.  Kauffman was originally charged by a criminal complaint on April 1, 2019.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, The criminal information alleges that Kauffman posted a threatening image on a social media website on March 13, 2019.  The image was a digitally-created image of Kauffman’s arm and hand aiming an AR-15 rifle at a congregation of praying Jewish men, gathered in what appears to be a synagogue.  Kauffman used various aliases online to post hundreds of anti-Semitic, anti-black, and anti-Muslim messages, images, and videos.  Several of these posts, like the one charged in the information, included threats to various religious and racial groups.  Other posts expressed a desire to commit genocide and “hate crimes,” and called for or depicted images of the killing of Jewish people, black people, and Muslim people.  Kauffman also created and posted videos combining footage of a mass shooting at a Christchurch, New Zealand mosque with various audio tracks to celebrate the shooting, including video game sound effects and music.

Kauffman also posted pictures of acts of vandalism he committed, including the defacement of a display case at the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish Center in Ocean City, Maryland with white supremacist and anti-Semitic stickers.  Kauffman faces additional state charges in Pennsylvania and potentially in Maryland for those acts.

“Pennsylvanians know all too well how dangerous these kinds of white supremacist threats can be,” said U.S. Attorney Freed.  “The last thing we want is to see another tragedy like we saw at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, or at Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, or at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.  We don’t know what might have happened, but we take these threats seriously, and I commend the FBI for their vigilance and quick action in this case.”

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean A. Camoni is prosecuting the case.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations.  All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is 5 years of imprisonment for each violation, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

 

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Updated March 30, 2020