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Press Release

Taxi Driver Indicted for Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIL

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Mahmoud Amin Mohamed Elhassan, 26, of Woodbridge, was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), aiding and abetting the provision of material support to ISIL, and false statements.

According to the indictment, from on or about Aug. 1, 2015, and continuing until Jan. 15, 2016, in Elhassan unlawfully and knowingly conspired with Joseph Hassan Farrokh to provide material support or resources to ISIL, a designated foreign terrorist organization. In furtherance of the conspiracy, on Jan. 15, 2016, Elhassan drove Farrokh to Richmond in order to enable Farrokh to fly to overseas to join ISIL.

According to the indictment, Elhassan also attempted to provide material support or resources to ISIL by aiding and abetting the attempt of Farrokh to join ISIL.  Elhassan’s aiding and abetting included introducing Farrokh to an individual that Elhassan believed could facilitate Farrokh’s travel to the Islamic State; driving Farrokh from Farrokh’s home to Richmond in Elhassan’s taxi cab so that Farrokh could embark on his travel to join ISIL; and making false statements to the FBI about Farrokh’s travel in order to hinder the government’s investigation of Farrokh’s travel.

According to the indictment, Elhassan knowingly, unlawfully, and willfully made material false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations in a matter involving international terrorism, including: On Jan. 15, 2016, Elhassan falsely stated to FBI agents that Farrokh had flown out of Dulles Airport earlier that day on a flight to California to attend a funeral; that Farrokh had said that he would be back in about two weeks; that neither he nor Farrokh supported the ISIL; and neither he nor Farrokh ever tried to find someone to help them get to ISIL.

Elhassan is scheduled to be arraigned on June 3 and faces a maximum penalty of 48 years in prison if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dennis M. Fitzpatrick and Gordon D. Kromberg are prosecuting the case.  This case is being investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office Joint Terrorism Task Force. 

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16cr64.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Updated May 27, 2016

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