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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 30, 2020

Union County Man Is Sentenced To Five Years In Prison For Making A False Statement To The FBI

The Defendant Lied to FBI Agents about Purchasing a “Buddy Pass” for an Individual He Believed Was Traveling to Syria to Join ISIS

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Alexander Samuel Smith, 32, of Waxhaw, N.C., was sentenced to 60 months in prison late yesterday, for making a false statement to the FBI, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.   Chief U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. also ordered Smith to serve three years under court supervision upon completion of his prison term. As a special condition of Smith’s supervised release, the Court ordered the defendant to have no contact with any organization or person on the State Department’s designated terrorist list.

John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina joins U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents, evidence presented at trial and yesterday’s sentencing hearing, in February 2016, Smith lied during an interview with the FBI about his plans to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), and about providing assistance to other individuals to do the same. Specifically, as trial evidence established, Smith denied purchasing a “buddy pass,” which is a discounted airfare offered to airline employees, for an individual he believed wanted to exit the United States and ultimately join ISIS in Syria.

In announcing the sentence, Judge Cogburn said that Smith was “ready, willing and able to help a terrorist organization,” and that the sentence was designed in part to deter people from lying to protect terrorists.

On March 21, 2019, a federal jury convicted Smith of two counts of making a false statement to the FBI.  Smith is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.

The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Savage of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Counterterrorism
Updated July 30, 2020