Man used racial epithets to threaten auto loan employee

September 1, 2020

By a Biometrica staffer

Phillip Cline Jr. of Elkton, Maryland, used racial epithets on and threatened to physically harm an employee of an auto loan business. Cline, 39, pleaded guilty to making threatening interstate communications, the US Department of Justice said in a statement.

Cline admitted that during a recorded phone conversation with the employee, he threatened physical harm and described the employee using racial epithets.

On February 1 2019, an employee of an auto loan business contacted Cline about what the business suspected to be a delinquent auto loan, according to the plea agreement. During the call, which was recorded, Cline was clearly upset with the caller and did not want to provide information verifying his identity.

Ultimately, Cline, who was advised that the call was being recorded, used racial epithets to threaten the employee with physical harm. He told the employee his “white power friends” will “hang your ass” during the course of the telephone call, according to the publicly available plea agreement.

Cline faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for Cline on October 10 2020.