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April 12, 2011

BOSTON, Mass. - AFTAB ALI, a/k/a Aftab Ali Khan, 29, formerly of Watertown, Massachusetts, pled guilty and was sentenced today on charges of unlicensed money transmitting and immigration document fraud.

U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper sentenced ALI to time served, 11 months, and three years of supervised release. ALI was ordered to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation proceedings.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “Aftab Ali has been in custody for nearly 11 months as a result of the charges in this case and the conduct underlying them. The prison term and ultimate deportation, sends an important message that unlicensed money remitting and immigration document fraud are felonies that warrant incarceration.”

Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI said, “Twenty federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force worked around the clock for several days to resolve questions about Mr. Ali’s money transfers relating to the 2010 failed bombing of New York’s Times Square. The JTTF uncovered Mr. Ali’s illegal money transfers and immigration fraud as a direct result of its proactive approach to prevent, deter and disrupt the possibility of further terrorist activity. Ultimately, the JTTF, assisted by the Brookline and Watertown police departments, ensured that the community was safe.” “Although Mr. Ali was not charged with financing the terrorist plot, his actions highlight the dangers of unlicensed money transmissions which enable individuals to anonymously send money across international borders. Prohibitions against this activity were enacted to, among other ends, prevent the direct and indirect financing of terrorism.”

“This investigation is an example of federal law enforcement partnering to use their diverse investigative authorities in cases that pose a threat to national security and public safety,” stated Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. “It also reaffirms our determination to identify and arrest those who conspire to compromise the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system.”

A complaint unsealed on November 16, 2010, alleged that ALI, a Pakistani citizen, entered the country in August 2009 to marry his then-fiancé and began working at a Brookline gas station despite lacking a work permit. Approximately three months later, after marrying a different woman, ALI defrauded the government by filing documents to adjust his immigration status in which he knowingly omitted his unauthorized employment.

Following the Times Square attempted bombing on May 1, 2010, investigators obtained evidence that ALI had provided $4,900 to Faisal Shahzad, who was later convicted of carrying out the bombing attempt. ALI borrowed the $4,900 from the manager of the Brookline gas station where he was employed and transferred it to Shahzad in February 2010 as part of a “hawala” transaction in which ALI’s family received an equivalent amount of money in Pakistan. ALI conducted money transmission business transactions (such as this one) without complying with federal registration requirements.

United States Attorney Ortiz; Special Agent DesLauriers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Office; and Special Agent Foucart of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William D. Weinreb and Aloke Chakravarty in Ortiz’s Antiterrorism and National Security Unit.


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