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Toms River Child Luring Suspect Pleads Guilty, Had Been Freed From Custody While New Charges Piled Up

Richard Hoffman, 26. (Photo: OCPO)

Richard Hoffman, 26. (Photo: OCPO)

A Mays Landing man who was identified as being behind child luring incidents in 2018 admitted his guilt in an Ocean County courtroom Monday. Richard Hoffman, 26, had been set free under New Jersey’s bail reform regulations before being taken back into custody in Feb. 2020 in Cape May County on additional charges of child pornography.

Hoffman entered a guilty plea for luring in connection with a series of events that that occurred in Toms River between Sept. 4, 2018 and Sept. 5, 2018. At the time of Hoffman’s sentencing on April 29, 2022, prosecutors will be seeking a term of five years New Jersey State Prison. Hoffman will also be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.

Hoffman was arrested Sept. 5, 2018, as part of Operation Open House, a multi-agency undercover operation led by the New Jersey Department of Criminal Justice, New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

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The operation, according to prosecutors, targeted men who were using the social media applications Whisper and Kik to attempt to lure underage females and males for sexual activity. Hoffman, who believed he was chatting with a 14-year-old girl, arranged to meet the teen at a residence in Toms River “for purposes of engaging in sexual activity,” a statement from prosecutors said.

In reality, Hoffman was chatting with an undercover detective from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office. On Sept. 5, 2018, Hoffman arrived at the prearranged location in Toms River, and was taken into custody. He was transported to the Ocean County Jail, but later released as a consequence of New Jersey’s bail reform legislation, which uses a scoring system to determine whether a suspect should remain in custody or be released. He was re-arrested in Feb. 2020 after authorities continued their investigation and leveled additional charges of first degree child pornography against Hoffman. He remains an inmate at the Cape May County Jail today.

Prosecutors thanked a slew of law enforcement agencies and individuals that were involved in the case, including:

  • Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Kristin Pressman
  • New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice
  • New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
  • New Jersey State Police
  • Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit
  • Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Morris County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Warren County Prosecutor’s Office
  • United States Homeland Security Investigations
  • United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations
  • New Jersey State Parole Board
  • Bayonne Police Department
  • Gloucester Township Police Department
  • Hazlet Township Police Department
  • Keyport Police Department
  • Monroe Township Police Department
  • Red Bank Police Department
  • Spring Lake Police Department
  • Toms River Township Police Department
  • Voorhees Township Police Department


Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story indicates Hoffman was free from custody pending sentencing. Indeed, he was re-arrested in Feb. 2020 after initially being freed without bail based on the 2018 charge and has remained in the Cape May County Jail since.


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