Thurston Co. resident pleads guilty to hate crime after tirade in Social Security office

Apr 3, 2024, 8:34 AM

hate crime...

Exterior of a Social Security Office in Olympia (Photo courtesy of Social Security Offices)

(Photo courtesy of Social Security Offices)

A Thurston County resident pled guilty Tuesday to making a threat against a Black federal employee at the Social Security office in Olympia.

Steven Veres, 42, pled guilty to a charge of influencing a federal official by threat, but also agreed to a hate-crime enhancement — which increases his offense level by three levels because he targeted a victim due to the victim’s perceived race, according to U.S. Department of Justice.

More on hate crimes in the region: Accused Seattle home invasion robbers face hate crime charges

The incident dates back to Feb. 16, 2023 when Veres went to the Olympia Social Security Office for a replacement Social Security card. According to records filed in the case, Veres threatened to assault and, per some witnesses, kill a Social Security employee — who was Black — after the employee told Veres he lacked the proper paperwork to obtain a new Social Security card. Veres was irate and repeatedly yelled racial slurs at the employee.

“Under the terms of the plea agreement, both sides will ask for a sentence of 30 months in prison,” U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman stated. “If the court accepts the plea agreement at the sentencing hearing, the recommendation will bind the court. As part of the plea agreement, Grays Harbor County will dismiss an unrelated prosecution against Veres for attempting to elude a police officer.”

More from the U.S. Department of Justice: Former guard indicted for bribery, smuggling drugs into King County Jail

Veres was initially charged in July 2023 and will be in court on June 25 to receive his sentence.

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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Thurston Co. resident pleads guilty to hate crime after tirade in Social Security office