Former Ala. resident pleads guilty to helping finance Al-Qaeda

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Ala Mohd Abusaad, a former Alabama resident, has pleaded guilty to the charge of concealment of terrorism financing.

According to the Alabama Department of Justice, the maximum penalty for concealment of terrorism financing is 10 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine and up to a life term of supervised release.

Abusaad, a former student at the University of Alabama, instructed an FBI undercover employee (UCE) about how to send money to the mujahedeen, fighters engaged in jihad. In the report, 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 Alabama DOJ, 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 and Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio.  The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Henry Cornelius and Manu Balachandran and Trial Attorney Jennifer Levy of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

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