Ross Farca, an East Bay man accused of posting murderous threats against Jews online and owning an illegal assault rifle, pleaded guilty on Thursday to a felony count of lying to the U.S. government.
The guilty plea promises to expedite legal proceedings for Farca, whose next scheduled court appearance was a procedural hearing in June. Instead he will be sentenced next month, then left to face three felonies in Contra Costa County.
According to the FBI, Farca misled Army recruiters on June 22, 2017, at a recruitment center in Mountain View, by saying he had not consulted with a mental health professional in the last seven years. In fact, Farca had been seeing a psychiatrist regularly since 2011 and had been diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders.
Farca checked “No” on the background check form, FBI agent Tyler Esswein wrote in a criminal complaint, although the form specifies that receiving counseling is not, “in and of itself,” disqualifying for federal jobs.
About two months later Farca, whose online posts show a fascination with the military and guns, was sent to basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. “A few days” into boot camp he was arrested for assaulting a fellow recruit, according to the federal complaint. He was discharged on Oct. 3 after about five weeks; the discharge paperwork cited “erroneous enlistment; medical condition disqualifying for military service.”
Farca is at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. His lawyers argue an appropriate sentencing range is 0-6 months, and if a judge agrees, he could be released for time served. He would then report to custody in Contra Costa County.
Federal prosecutors have argued for a higher sentencing range. By statute, someone convicted of making materially false claims to the U.S. government — a statute used in a range of perjury, fraud and other cases — is fined and imprisoned “not more than 5 years.”
The sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 29 at 9:30 a.m. at the federal courthouse in Oakland.