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    Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening Muslim Family

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A man from Tampa, Florida faces ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to a hate crime in which he told a Muslim couple he would burn down the house they were trying to purchase if they concluded the deal, the US Department of Justice said in a press release.

    "The Justice Department today announced that David H. Howard, 59, of Tampa, Florida, pleaded guilty in the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, to one count of threatening, intimidating, and interfering with a Muslim family’s enjoyment of their housing rights, in violation of Title 42 U.S.C. § 3631," the release said on Tuesday. "Howard faces a maximum punishment of ten years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine up to $250,000."

    The release said the couple was at the property for a final inspection before purchasing it when Howard showed up and said, "This sale will not take place!"

    Howard then said he would burn the house down if the purchase was concluded, and later bragged about his action to neighbors and friends.

    "Hate motivated crimes are not only an attack on the victim, but are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community," FBI Tampa Division Special Agent in Charge Eric Sporre said. "Reporting these types of crimes along with cooperation of the community is critical to ensuring a successful outcome in cases like this."

    The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department will vigorously pursue cases like these involving discrimination based on religious beliefs, the release added.

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    Tags:
    arrest, Hate Crime, court, Civil Rights Division of the US Justice Department, Tampa, Florida, United States
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