4 charged in Brooklyn for providing ISIS with Cryptocurrency

December 19, 2022 Rob Abruzzese
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Four people were charged in Brooklyn’s federal court this week with conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) after they were allegedly caught making more than $35,000 in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency contributions.

Following early morning arrests, a criminal complaint was unsealed in front of Chief United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak on Wednesday that charged Mohammad David Hashimi, a 35-year-old from Virginia, Abdullah At Taqi, a 23-year-old from Queens, Khalilullah Yousuf, a 34-year-old from Canada, and Seema Rahman, a 25-year-old from New Jersey, with supporting ISIS.

“As alleged, this crowdfunding network used cryptocurrency, Bitcoin wallets, GoFundMe, and PayPal to collect and raise blood money to support ISIS, not for needy families as they falsely claimed in their attempt to deceive law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace.

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“I commend our prosecutors and the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force for piercing the veil of secrecy to identify the perpetrators of this scheme, reveal the true evil nature of these virtual money transfers, and bring to justice those who seek to enable acts of violent extremism.”

From February 2021 through July 2022, the defendants allegedly managed to raise and contribute money to ISIS by sending it to a facilitator via Bitcoin and Paypal.

Members of ISIS had allegedly set up group chats using encrypted social media apps and publicly advertised links where people could supposedly donate money for humanitarian causes, but they were instead knowingly donating to help the “mujahideen”, a term for “holy warriors,” according to prosecutors.

Yousuf and Rahman went even further to create multiple GoFundMe fundraising campaigns that claimed to collect money for charity that managed to raise more than $10,000, which was then send using Western Union.

One of the defendants, Taqi, was allegedly concerned that the money might not go to help terrorist endevors so a person known as “Facilitator-1” send him screenshots of a video depicting tactical gear, ammunition, and grenades on top of an ISIS flag, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors claim that Hashimi has made multiple statements online suggesting that he would like to die in combat or in a terrorist attack. In November 2020, prosecutors said he told a confidential source that he wants to join ISIS: “I have made up my mind I want to make Hijra to Afghanistan. To join dawla.”

Hashimi allegedly provided financial support to people who were accused or convicted on federal terrorism charges, including one defendant that he gave over $2,000 to through JPay, an inmate funding service.

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