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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Lehighton Man Charged With Racist Internet Threats

SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Corbin Kauffman, age 30, of Lehighton, Pennsylvania, was charged by a criminal complaint on April 1, 2019, with interstate transmission of threats to injure the person of another.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the complaint alleges that Kauffman posted threatening images and messages on a website called Minds.com on March 7, 2019.  It further alleges that Kauffman used various aliases online to post hundreds of anti-semitic, anti-black, and anti-Muslim messages, images, and videos.  Several of these posts included threats to various religious and racial groups, and one included a digitally created image of Kauffman aiming an AR-15 rifle at a congregation of praying Jewish men.  Other posts allegedly 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 posted pictures of acts of vandalism he committed, including anti-semitic graffiti at a public park, and the defacement of a display case at the Chabad Jewish Center in Ocean City, Maryland with white supremacist and anti-semitic stickers. 

“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 Emmanual 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.”

“If someone makes violent threats, we’re going to take them at their word and investigate accordingly,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “While the FBI does not and will not police ideology, we stand ready to intervene whenever threatening language crosses the line into illegal activity. As always, protecting the public is our highest priority.”

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 five 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 April 11, 2019