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Press Release

Bergen County, New Jersey, Man Admits He Conspired To Provide Material Support To ISIL

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County, New Jersey, man admitted today that he conspired to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, and Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel of the FBI’s Newark Division announced.

Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiring with others to provide services and personnel to ISIL. He remains detained without bail.

“The crimes Samuel Topaz admitted today threatened the safety of Americans here and abroad,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “Our efforts to cut off the flow of fighters and resources to known terrorist organizations will not stop with his guilty plea. We have charges pending against his conspirators and remain vigilant against these terrorist operations.”

“Samuel Rahamin Topaz conspired to provide material support to ISIL and sought to travel overseas with others to fight on behalf of the designated foreign terrorist organization,” Assistant Attorney General Carlin said. “Counterterrorism is the National Security Division’s highest priority, and we remain committed to stemming the flow of foreign fighters abroad and bringing to justice those who attempt to provide material support to terrorists.”

“Samuel Topaz admitted to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) today in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey,” Special Agent in Charge Frankel said. “Now Topaz will face up to 20 years in prison rather than take up arms overseas. Disrupting recruitment efforts by terrorist organizations and preventing acts of terror remains the FBI’s number one priority, and due to the unflagging efforts of the Newark FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force this threat was eliminated. I ask the citizens of New Jersey to remain vigilant and contact the FBI if they see or hear something suspicious.”

According to documents filed in this and related cases and statements made in court:

Topaz admitted that prior to his arrest by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force on June 17, 2015, he planned to travel overseas to join ISIL and had saved up money for that purpose.   Topaz discussed plans to join ISIL with Nader Saadeh, Alaa Saadeh, and Munther Omar Saleh, and admitted that at various times each of them indicated that they wanted to join ISIL. Topaz also admitted they all watched ISIL-related videos, some of which depicted the execution of non-Muslims and individuals regarded as apostates from Islam.

On May 5, 2015, Nader Saadeh departed the United States with plans to travel overseas to join ISIL as part of the conspiracy, according to Topaz’s statements in court today. Topaz further admitted that he and others planned to travel overseas separately, meet up with Nader Saadeh, and then travel together to join ISIL. After Nader Saadeh left the United States, Topaz met with Munther Omar Saleh and contacted Alaa Saadeh to discuss those plans.

Topaz admitted knowing that ISIL was a designated terrorist organization and was taking over territory overseas, expelling non-Muslims from their homes, and executing individuals who did not obey ISIL’s commands.

The count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2015.

Topaz’ alleged conspirators are being prosecuted and are currently in federal custody.  Nader Saadeh and Alaa Saadeh have been charged in separate criminal complaints brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey with conspiring to provide material support to ISIL, among other charges. Munther Omar Saleh has been indicted on terrorism-related charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. The charges and allegations against them are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Frankel in Newark, and the JTTF, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys L. Judson Welle, Dennis C. Carletta, and Francisco J. Navarro of the U.S. Attorney’s Office National Security Unit in Newark, with assistance the assistance of Trial Attorney Robert Sander of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Defense counsel: Ian J. Hirsch Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey

Updated February 4, 2016

National Security
Press Release Number: 15-327