U.S. Attorney urges religious leaders to remain vigilant against attacks on places of worship & their congregants
CINCINNATI – A Cincinnati man was sentenced in federal court this morning for violating the Fair Housing Act through force, by willfully intimidating two homeowners based on their race, color and familial status.
Samuel Whitt, 43, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 54 months in prison for criminal interference with the right to fair housing.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, and Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett.
Whitt was indicted in May 2017 and pleaded guilty in January 2019 to criminal interference with the right to fair housing, in part by the use or attempted use of fire or an explosive.
Whitt destroyed a rental home owned by an inter-racial couple in Price Hill in November 2016. According to court documents, Whitt broke into the rental home and spray-painted the walls with messages including “die n****r” and “white power,” as well as images of swastikas. Whitt also poured quick-drying concrete into the bathroom drains and toilet; stabbed a knife into the floor; removed plumbing traps from the sinks and left the water running; turned on the gas stove in the upstairs kitchen, poured paint into the burners, and attempted to remove the smoke detector above the stove.
“I want this conviction and sentence to send a message to racists in the Southern District of Ohio,” said U.S. Attorney Glassman. “It’s your right to wallow in noxious beliefs to your heart’s content, but act on those thoughts with violence and you will go to federal prison for a long time. Together with our law enforcement partners at all levels, this office will enforce the federal laws against hate crimes vigorously and to their fullest extent.”
As part of his sentence, the Court also ordered that Whitt pay more than $66,000 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence, including one year of home confinement.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperative investigation by the FBI and Cincinnati Police, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Megan Gaffney and Kyle Healey, who are representing the United States in this case.