Tacoma – A 41-year-old Thurston County resident was arraigned today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on two federal charges connected to threats made to a Black federal employee at the Social Security office in Olympia, Washington, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Steven L. Veres, remains detained pending trial which is now scheduled for November 28, 2023.
According to records filed in the case, on February 16, 2023, Veres and a companion went to the Olympia, Social Security Office seeking a replacement Social Security card. At the first visit, a Social Security employee, who is Black, told Veres what documents he could use to get a replacement card. When Veres returned to the office a second time, the employee told him the paperwork Veres brought still did not meet the requirements for a new card to be issued. Veres became angry, used racial slurs, and threatened to assault or kill the worker.
Veres is charged with Influencing a federal official by threat, and interference with federally protected activities. The grand jury alleges that Veres intentionally threatened the victim because of his race.
Influencing a federal official by threat is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of supervised release. Interference with a federally protected activity is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Protective Service.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Will Dreher and Jocelyn Cooney in coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.