The indictment charged 26-year-old Mark Domingo with providing material support to terrorists and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, the U.S. attorney's office said.
His public defender, David Wasserman, declined to comment on the charges.
Domingo was arrested last month. Investigators said he wanted to kill people at a Nazi rally that was planned in Long Beach but didn't happen.
Domingo discussed several types of attacks with an informant that included targeting Jews, churches and police, court papers said.
He also spouted about violent jihad in online forums, according to court documents that spell out online chats and conversations recorded over two months.
Domingo posted an online message March 3 saying. "America needs another Vegas event," an apparent reference to the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 people, documents show.
The records indicate that he said it would spark civil unrest to weaken "America by giving them a taste of the terror they gladly spread all over the world."
Domingo, a combat veteran who served four months in Afghanistan before being kicked out of the Army, converted to Islam and was plotting attacks across Southern California to seek revenge for killings at two New Zealand mosques, prosecutors said.
Domingo is scheduled to be arraigned on May 31. He could face life in prison if convicted of all charges.