Jim Kouri
Terrorism financier pleads guilty in New York courtroom
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By Jim Kouri
October 2, 2009

Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of terrorism financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The plea was entered in Manhattan federal court before United States District Judge Alvin Hellerstein.

According to documents obtained by the Terrorism Committee of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, including the Information to which he pleaded guilty, and statements made during legal proceedings the 56-year old Alishtari of Ardsley, New York, facilitated the transfer of $152,000, with the understanding that the money would be used to fund training for terrorists.

In the latter half of 2006, Alishtari agreed to discreetly transfer these funds for an undercover officer, believing that the money was going to be used to purchase night vision goggles and other equipment for a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. During his guilty plea, Alishtari admitted that he sent the money from the United States knowing that the funds were to be used to help finance alleged terrorist activity in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Alishtari also pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars from victims through his fraudulent operation of a loan investment program he called the Flat Electronic Data Interchange or "FEDI." FEDI was purportedly a high-yield investment program, in which he falsely promised his investors that, in exchange for their investment, they would receive high, guaranteed rates of return. Alishtari admitted that he made false representations and promises with regard to the FEDI program. He also acknowledged that a portion of the money he collected was used to pay personal expenses and for purposes other than the investment program.

Alishtari faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the terrorism financing charge and five years in prison on the wire fraud conspiracy charge; a fine on each count of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense; and the imposition of restitution and forfeiture.

United States Attorney Preet Bharara stated: "Alishtari today admitted that he stole millions from investors and knowingly financed what he believed to be tools of terror. In enriching himself, [he] displayed a deliberate disregard for the financial and personal security of others."

Mr. Bharara praised the work of the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department, and thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission for its assistance in the investigation.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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