CONCORD – The New Hampshire charity NuDay, a/k/a NuDay Syria, was sentenced today in federal court for export offenses, U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young announces.
NuDay was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph N. Laplante to five years of probation, the maximum penalty for an organizational defendant. NuDay was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine. On September 8, 2023, NuDay pleaded guilty to three counts of Failure to File Export Information.
“Our national security depends on exporters truthfully disclosing where goods are being shipped to ensure that hostile foreign actors do not get their hands on potentially dangerous items,” said U.S. Attorney Jane E Young. “This prosecution shows that willful violations of export law, even by a non-profit charity, will result in criminal consequences.”
“This charity blatantly violated U.S. export control laws when it sent over 100 shipments of humanitarian goods to Syria, a country that is a designated state sponsor of terrorism, and in many instances, lied about where those shipments were going,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “This case highlights the FBI’s ongoing commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to prevent the erosion of public trust in charitable organizations by ensuring that anyone who engages in criminal activity in order to evade our laws and regulations is held accountable.”
“Customs and export laws exist to protect the integrity of our systems of commerce and to protect our national security. The individuals involved with NuDay knew they were breaking the law but did so anyway, sending shipments whose contents were falsely undervalued to Syria, a country subject to export restrictions and sanctions. As today’s sentence shows, these actions have consequences,” said Michael J. Krol, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England.
“Despite the availability of a limited waiver of the restrictions allowing for the export and re-export of a wide range of items necessary to provide humanitarian support to the Syrian people, NuDay devalued $8.3 million of goods to avoid reporting requirements and transshipped the items through a third country without disclosing their ultimate destination. The end did not justify the means in this case,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Aaron Tambrini of the Office of Export Enforcement’s Boston Field Office.
NuDay was founded by Nadia Alawa as a non-profit charity in 2013 and is headquartered in Windham, New Hampshire. Alawa served as NuDay’s President, and several family members served as board members and employees. Between 2013 and 2019, NuDay claimed significant growth of in-kind donations, starting from approximately $231,000 in 2013 and reaching almost $71 million in 2019. By way of comparison, in 2019 OXFAM America reported approximately $73.5 million in donations, and the Syrian American Medical Society Foundation reported approximately $41.4 million in donations.
Between 2018 and 2021, NuDay made over 100 shipments to Syria, a country that was subject to sanctions and export restrictions. NuDay claimed that these shipments were worth over $100 million. NuDay had the items shipped to Mersin, Turkey, where another company would transship them into Syria. U.S. Department of Commerce regulations require exporters, such as NuDay, to report true and accurate information about the items being exported, including the shipment’s description, end user, and monetary value. However, NuDay falsely reported that the end destination of the shipments was Turkey and not Syria, and artificially deflated the value of the goods to be below the $2,500 reporting threshold. Alawa’s Facebook messages indicated that she and NuDay were aware of export restrictions, including the need to obtain export licenses, but ignored them.
As a condition of the plea, Nadia Alawa and her family members have ceased involvement with NuDay.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations, and Homeland Security Investigations led the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander S. Chen prosecuted the case.