New York woman gets 18 years in prison for funding terrorism in Syria using Bitcoin

As a researcher with a background in counter-terrorism finance and cybercrime, I find Victoria Jacobs’ case particularly alarming. The fact that she was able to use cryptocurrency as a means to fund terrorist activities from the safety of her Manhattan apartment is a stark reminder of how technology can be exploited for nefarious purposes.

A New York resident was sentenced to 18 years in prison for washing $12,000 worth of Bitcoins to financially support a terroristic organization based in Syria.

Victoria Jacobs, alias Bakhrom Talipov, 44-year-old defendant, received a prison sentence of 18 years from a New York State Court jury following her conviction on terrorism financing charges using cryptocurrency. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced in a statement that Jacobs was deeply involved in terrorist online communities and played a significant role in collecting and laundering substantial funds for Syrian extremist organizations.

As a researcher studying financial inclusion from my Manhattan apartment, I facilitate their connection to our city’s financial markets, enabling these groups to advance their missions.

District Attorney Alvin Bragg

Jacobs was found guilty of three felony charges for aiding in terrorist activities, in addition to conspiracy, money laundering, and illegal possession of a weapon. According to the prosecution’s statement, Jacobs transferred over $6,000 to the terrorist organization “Malhama Tactical.” He also laundered approximately $12,000 by obtaining funds from supporters globally through cryptocurrency and wire transfers (using services like Western Union and MoneyGram), which ultimately ended up in Bitcoin wallets managed by Malhama Tactical.

As a crypto investor and follower of news in the digital currency space, I came across a disturbing revelation. A press release revealed that an individual named Jacobs had not only transferred cryptocurrency but also provided a U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook to an online group associated with terrorism in Syria. In addition, she purchased Google Play gift cards for the organization. The prosecutors further disclosed that on an online forum, Jacobs presented herself as a “brother” operating “behind enemy lines,” requesting prayers for the “courage, strength, guidance, and wisdom to execute specific missions.” These actions are deeply concerning and go against the ethical principles and legal frameworks of our society.

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2024-05-01 09:34