Former Alabama Resident Sentenced to Over Seven Years in Prison for Concealing Terrorism Financing
A former Alabama resident was sentenced today to 90 months, the equivalent of seven and a half years, in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for concealing the transmission of funds to be provided as material support to al-Qaida, a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Alaa Mohd Abusaad, 26, pleaded guilty to concealment of terrorism financing in September 2019. According to the plea agreement, between February and April 2018, Abusaad instructed an FBI undercover employee (UCE) about how to send money to the mujahideen – fighters engaged in jihad. Abusaad told the UCE that money “...is always needed. You can’t have a war without weapons. You can’t prepare a soldier without equipment.” Abusaad also advised the UCE on how to send money in a manner that would avoid detection by law enforcement, including by using fake names and addresses when conducting electronic money transfers. Subsequently, Abusaad introduced the UCE to a financial facilitator who could route the UCE’s money to “brothers that work with aq” (meaning al-Qaida).
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona for the Northern District of Alabama, and Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. of the FBI’s Birmingham Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI’s Birmingham, Memphis and Cleveland Field Offices investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Cornelius and Manu Balachandran for the Northern District of Alabama and Trial Attorney Jennifer Levy of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section prosecuted the case.