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Press Release

Kissimmee Man Indicted For Lying To The FBI In Connection With An International Terrorism Investigation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Orlando, Florida –United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg, announces that a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Moad Mohamed Benkabbou (22, Kissimmee) with three counts of false statements to a federal agency. Because the false statements made to the FBI related to an international terrorism investigation, Benkabbou faces a maximum sentence of eight years in federal prison.  Following a detention hearing the Court detained Benkabbou in a local jail pending trial.

According to the indictment, Benkabbou was asked if he had ever talked about ISIS with a person known to FBI. He falsely answered, “No, I didn’t.” Benkabbou was also asked if he had ever made plans to travel overseas to join ISIS. Again, he answered falsely, “No, I didn’t.” Finally, Benkabbou was asked if he had ever pledged to ISIS. He falsely stated, “No, no I did not.”

According to evidence admitted during the detention hearing on January 19, 2023, Benkabbou swore an oath to support ISIS in January 2020, made plans to travel to Turkey and Syria to fight for ISIS, sent money to support ISIS, purchased airplane tickets in August 2020 and January 2021 (and later cancelled both tickets), and sent ISIS propaganda videos to others, including ISIS-sponsored videos showing executions of American allies fighting against ISIS. Benkabbou also sent a picture of himself dressed as an ISIS fighter with the statement, “Hey Crusaders hey Jews die within your rage.” 

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn P. Napier.

Updated January 23, 2023