Former Elkhart resident pleads guilty to financing terrorism

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ELKHART, Ind. -- Former Elkhart resident Samantha Elhassani pleaded guilty to one count of financing terrorism in federal court on Monday, according to court records.

If the plea is accepted at sentencing she could face up to 10 years in prison and lifetime probation, as well as a $250,000 fine, but could receive a reduction in sentence for cooperating.

As part of the plea agreement, the charges of conspiracy to provide material support for a foreign terrorist organization and aiding and abetting others to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization would be dismissed at sentencing.

As part of the agreement, she admitted to the following facts:

  • In November 2014, her husband said he and his brother wanted to travel to Syria to live in the Caliphate and join ISIS.
  • Between November 2014 and April 2015, she helped her husband and his brother join ISIS by making three trips to Hong Kong.
  • During the first two trips to Hong Kong she transported more than $30,000 in cash and gold from the US and deposited them in a safe deposit box in Hong Kong. She knew the money would be used to support ISIS.
  • Elhassani admitted to transporting gold that was melted down to look like jewelry and did not disclose the cash and gold on customs forms.

Elhassani will be sentenced on March 5, 2020.

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