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LOS ANGELES – An alleged leader of a Las Vegas-based white supremacist gang has been sentenced to three years in federal prison by a federal judge who found that he lied on a passport application as he fled an investigation into his possible involvement in a hate crime in which two people were murdered.
Ross Hack, 38, of Las Vegas, Nevada was sentenced in federal court in Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon by United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson, who ordered Hack to surrender to begin serving his sentence on January 20. Hack pleaded guilty to a felony charge of making a false statement on a passport application earlier this year.
During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Pregerson called Hack’s case and sentence “unique,” specifically finding that Hack’s motive to commit the crime was to flee an investigation into Hack’s possible involvement in a 1998 double homicide in which two racial tolerance activists were murdered.
Prior to their murders on July 4, 1998, Daniel Shersty and Linn “Spit” Newborn were leaders of a Las Vegas group known as SHARPs – Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice. On July 30, 1998, during a search warrant executed at Hack’s residence in relation to the murder investigation, authorities seized Hack’s passport, along with weapons and white supremacist propaganda. Investigators left paperwork at the residence informing Hack that his passport was seized by law enforcement.
A few days later, on August 3, 1998, Hack drove to Los Angeles to file an emergency passport application. In the passport application, Hack stated that he “lost” his passport and that it was “unknown” what happened to it. Hack received his emergency passport and fled to Europe, where he remained for more than six years. While Hack was abroad, his sister’s boyfriend, John Butler, was convicted in the murders of Shersty and Newborn.
Special Agents with the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, along with investigators with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Gang Division and Violent Crimes Division, began investigating Hack in relation to the passport fraud in January 2008 after he was identified as an organizer of a white supremacist rally in Las Vegas where an individual was assaulted and nearly killed. During the investigation into this attempted murder, authorities realized that Hack had reappeared on the Las Vegas neo-Nazi scene. After reviewing Hack’s 1998 passport application, conducting witness interviews, and interviewing Hack – who admitted that he lied on the passport application because he feared he was being investigated in relation to the double homicide – authorities arrested Hack on March 12, 2008 for passport fraud.
The case against Hack is part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Las Vegas Office, Civil Rights Division; the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; and the United States Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service, Las Vegas and Los Angeles Offices.
CONTACTS: Assistant United States Attorney Mack E. Jenkins
Assistant United States Attorney Douglas M. Miller
Release No. 09-147
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