In The Courts Recent News

19-Year Old Brooklawn Man Admits Conspiring With White Supremacists to Vandalize Synagogues Across Country

On February 26, 2021, a Brooklawn man admitted his role in conspiring with members of a white supremacist hate group to threaten and intimidate African Americans and Jewish Americans by vandalizing minority-owned properties throughout the country in September 2019, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Richard Tobin, 19, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with conspiracy against rights before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court.

“Americans should never have to fear racist, antisemitic or any other form of bias-motivated violence,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said. “This defendant encouraged hateful acts of violence against individuals and their houses of worship, based solely on their religion or the color of their skin. Together with our colleagues in the Civil Rights Division and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, this Office will continue to work every day to identify individuals like him and bring them swiftly to justice.”

“The FBI and our partners simply won’t tolerate crimes spurred by hate, which are meant to intimidate and isolate the groups targeted,” Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, said. “People of all races and faiths deserve to feel safe in their communities. Richard Tobin encouraged others to victimize innocent people, in furtherance of his abhorrent white supremacist beliefs. While we all have the right to believe whatever we want, when those views lead to violence, that’s a different and dangerous story.”

“Conspiring with others to vandalize and destroy property owned by African-Americans and Jewish Americans will not be tolerated by the Department of Justice,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pam Karlan of the Civil Rights Division. “Every person should feel secure knowing they have the right to own and use their property free from being targeted because of their race or religion. We will continue to protect the civil rights of all individuals and vigorously prosecute bias motivated crimes.”

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Tobin admitted that from Sept. 15 to Sept. 23, 2019, he was a member of a white supremacist group, “The Base,” and during that time, he communicated online with other members and directed them to destroy and vandalize properties affiliated with African Americans and Jewish Americans.

Tobin dubbed this coordinated attack “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” after an attack in Germany on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, in which Nazis murdered Jewish people and burned and destroyed Jewish homes, synagogues, stores and schools.

Tobin implored members of The Base to post propaganda flyers and to break windows and slash tires belonging to African Americans and Jewish Americans.

On Sept. 21, 2019, members of The Base vandalized synagogues in Racine, Wisconsin, and Hancock, Michigan, by spray painting them with hate symbols. 

A conspirator, Yousef Omar Barasneh, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy against rights in federal court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, for his role in vandalizing the synagogue in Racine, Wisconsin. 

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 28, 2021. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI Philadelphia Division’s South Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Driscoll, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force and its member agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, the New Jersey State Police and the Camden County Police Department, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. She also thanked the Brooklawn and Cherry Hill police departments for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen M. Harberg of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden and Trial Attorney Eric Peffley of the Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section.

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In The Courts Recent News

Camden Vicinage Drug Court to Celebrate Graduation Virtually on Feb. 23

Assignment Judge Deborah Silverman Katz announced on February 11, 2021, that the Camden Vicinage will celebrate the anticipated graduation of 26 participants from its drug court program at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23 during a virtual court session.

The Camden County Bar Association will award a stipend to one graduate who has done very well in the program while advancing their education in the field of medical care.

During the commencement, the graduates will be acknowledged formally for their successful completion of the program’s requirements.

Superior Court Judge Kathleen M. Delaney will preside and retired Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Holden and Ronald Lieberman of the Camden County Bar Foundation will present a scholarship.

Graduation speakers also will include Dr. Paschal Nwako, health officer and public health coordinator for the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services.

The Judiciary’s drug court program operates within the Superior Court to address nonviolent drug addicted offenders.

The program requires completion of four phases of intensive drug and
alcohol treatment and recovery.

This level of supervision permits the program to support the recovery process but also allows the team to react swiftly to impose appropriate therapeutic interventions or to reinstate criminal proceedings when participants do not comply with the program.

The vicinage’s drug court program, which began in 1996, has 710 participants and has graduated 746 participants.

In The Courts Recent News

Judiciary Review Allows for Early Discharge of Rehabilitated Probationers

Judges across the state have concluded the supervisory terms of more than 500 adult and juvenile individuals who have demonstrated rehabilitation after a Probation Services review.

The prioritized review of 819 probationers resulted in 577 early termination orders, advancing the Supreme Court’s action plan issued in July to ensure equal justice in the courts by avoiding protracted supervisory terms that no longer provide rehabilitative benefits.

The majority of individuals were discharged completely from probation while others with financial obligations were converted to collections cases.

Under the Court-approved protocol, review for potential early termination from probation supervision is limited to adults and juveniles who:

  • Have completed at least half of their probation term
  • Have no pending probation violations
  • Have no indications of drug use in the last six months
  • Attend school or have maintained employment.
  • Were sentenced for a crime of the third-degree or less

Individuals serving a diversionary program or with special case types, such as domestic violence, sex offender, drug court and intensive supervision, are not eligible for consideration.

Probation Services will review future cases periodically to determine eligibility for early termination.

Feature Stories In The Courts

Cherry Hill Law Firm Eisenberg, Gold & Agrawal Appoints New Partners & Of Counsel, Brings of Four Associates

Eisenberg, Gold & Agrawal, P.C., a growing Cherry Hill law firm specializing in real estate, commercial litigation, creditor’s rights and bankruptcy law, announces it has named two of its attorneys partners, brought in four new associates and appointed an Of Counsel.

This brings to nine the number of attorneys in the practice, with 14 additional support staff and legal assistants.

Andrew Unterlack, newly named partner, brings 22 years of legal experience to this role, mostly in the areas of commercial litigation and creditors’ rights. His five-year career at EG&A has been spent representing numerous lending, leasing and financing institutions, and assisting business owners in the collection of outstanding receivables.

(Photo of Andrew Unterlack provided)

Prior to joining EG&A in 2014, Mr. Unterlack was an associate with a creditor’s rights firm in Philadelphia. He earned his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law in Hempstead, N.Y., and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Miami. He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Courts, district courts and bankruptcy courts of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Mr. Unterlack is also a member of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association.

Douglas Ferguson, a six-year veteran of EG&A and the second new partner, also provides legal services to financial institutions and works in the landlord-tenant law, commercial collections and commercial and residential real estate arena. He has successfully litigated appeals in the New Jersey Appellate Division and has argued before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, one of two Pennsylvania intermediate appellate courts. 

(Photo of Douglas Ferguson provided)

A native of Marlton, N.J., Mr. Ferguson is a graduate of Widener University School of Law and Rider University, where he graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a double minor in Law and Justice and history. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as in the federal district courts and bankruptcy courts for the District of New Jersey and Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A member of the Risk Management Association and the Camden County Bar Association, he resides in Glassboro, N.J.

“It is gratifying to elevate Andrew and Doug to partners, as they’ve shown tremendous commitment to their clients and have been zealous advocates for them when necessary,” said Janet Gold, managing partner in Eisenberg, Gold, & Agrawal. “Their combined 28 years of experience has been instrumental in helping the firm grow both in size and reputation during their tenures.” 

EG&A has also named Rishi K. Desai as Of Counsel. Desai specializes in franchise law and commercial transactions, representing clients on the purchase, sale, lease and financing of their business and commercial real estate, and lenders in SBA, conventional and non-institutional loan closings. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and his law degree from Western New England University School of Law.

In addition, EG&A announces four recent additions to its team:

  • William A. Rodio, a native of Hammonton, has been practicing law for more than 20 years and specializes in commercial and residential real estate closings, purchase and sale of business and business formations, mergers and acquisitions. He received his undergraduate degree from Stockton University and his law degree from Western Michigan University Law School. Rodio represents clients all through the State of New Jersey.
  • Scott Shectman is focused on commercial litigation and creditor’s rights. He is a graduate of Penn State University and Syracuse University College of Law. Prior to joining EG&A, Schectman was an associate with two large firms in Philadelphia and previously served as a judicial clerk at the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, Third Judicial Department and for the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
  • Bernadette Irace is well-versed in creditor’s rights, real estate and mortgage foreclosure litigation and title curative issues for national and regional financial institutions. She is a graduate of Temple University, where she earned a business degree in risk management and insurance and legal studies, and Widener University School of Law. 
  • The firm’s newest addition, Adam Rosengard’s practice includes commercial litigation, creditor’s rights, real estate and mortgage foreclosure. He holds a law degree from Rutgers School of Law. Rosengard previously worked at a regional personal injury firm and a local general practice firm in northeast Philadelphia.

Eisenberg, Gold & Agrawal, P.C. provides legal counsel to corporate, small business and individual clients throughout New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania in the areas of real estate law, creditors’ rights, foreclosure and bankruptcy, condominium and community association law, civil and commercial litigation, estate and probate law.

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In The Courts Recent News

Former Atlantic City Mayor Sentenced to One Month Prison Term, Plus 11 Months of Home Confinement For Defrauding Contributors to Youth Basketball Team

CAMDEN, N.J. – The former mayor of Atlantic City was sentenced on January 28, 2021 to 30 days in prison and 11 months of home confinement for defrauding contributors to a youth basketball team out of more than $86,000, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig announced. 

Frank Gilliam, 49, of Atlantic City, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty to an information charging him with wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez imposed the sentence today by videoconference.      

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Gilliam was the co-founder of AC Starz Basketball Club (AC Starz), a non-profit that he incorporated to operate a youth basketball team.

While serving as a member of the Atlantic City Council and later, as mayor of Atlantic City, Gilliam solicited donations for AC Starz from various individuals and entities under the false pretense that the contributions were for a youth basketball team and/or school supplies for underprivileged children.

Gilliam instead used most of the money for personal expenses – including luxury clothing, expensive meals, and trips – that were completely unrelated to the operation of a youth basketball team. In total, Gilliam defrauded the contributors out of $86,790.    

In addition to the prison term, Judge Rodriguez sentenced Gilliam to three years of supervised release, ordered him to pay restitution to his victims in the amount of $86,790 and ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig credited special agents of the FBI Atlantic City Resident Agency and FBI Atlantic City Public Corruption Task Force, which includes the Atlantic County and Cape May County Prosecutor’s Offices and the Atlantic City Police Department, under the direction of FBI Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Farrell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division.