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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Massachusetts 18-Year-Old Allegedly Donated Gift Cards to Support ISIS

A Wakefield, Mass. man was arrested today for knowingly concealing the source of material support or resources that he intended to go to a foreign terrorist organization, namely the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Mateo Ventura, 18, was charged today in a criminal complaint with one count of knowingly concealing the source of material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. Ventura will appear in federal court in Worcester at 12:30 p.m. today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy.

According to the charging documents, Ventura provided multiple gift cards to an individual he believed was an ISIS supporter, with the intention that the gift cards be sold on the dark web for a little less than face value and resulting profits be used to support ISIS. Ventura allegedly stated that he wanted the proceeds to go to ISIS “for war on kuffar” (disbelievers). In total, it is alleged that between January and May 2023, Ventura donated $705 intended to support ISIS.

The charge of knowingly concealing the source of material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen for the Justice Department’s National Security Division; and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. The Massachusetts State Police and Wakefield Police Department provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy H. Kistner and Laura J. Kaplan of Levy’s National Security Unit are prosecuting the case. Valuable assistance was provided by Trial Attorneys Charles Kovats and Andrea Broach of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Read more at the Justice Department

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