Fmr. Ala. woman sentenced to 7 1/2 years for concealing financing to support al Qaeda

Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 1:13 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A federal judge sentenced a former Alabama woman for concealing the transmission of funds to be provided as material support to al Qaeda, a designated foreign terrorist organization, according to Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew Olsen, United States Attorney Prim F. Escalona, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced Alaa Mohd Abusaad, age 26, to 90 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for concealment of terrorism financing. Abusaad pleaded guilty to the charge in September 2019.

According to the plea agreement, between February and April 2018, Abusaad instructed an FBI undercover employee (UCE) about how to send money to mujahedeen, fighters engaged in jihad.

Abusaad told the UCE that money “…is always needed. You can’t have a war without weapons. You can’t prepare a soldier without equipment.” According to court records, Abusaad also advised the UCE on how to send money in a manner that would avoid detection by law enforcement, including by using fake names and addresses when conducting electronic money transfers. Subsequently, Abusaad introduced the UCE to a financial facilitator who could route the UCE’s money to “brothers that work with aq” (meaning al Qaeda).

Investigation of the case was conducted by the FBI, including FBI offices in Birmingham, Alabama, Memphis, Tennessee, Nashville Resident Agency, and Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio.  Assistant United States Attorneys Henry Cornelius and Manu Balachandran and Trial Attorney Jennifer Levy of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section prosecuted the case.


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