Former Elkhart resident sentenced for financing terrorism

Former Elkhart resident Samantha Elhassani, 35, was sentenced in federal court to over six years in prison after pleading guilty to financing terrorism.

Elhassani was sentenced to six years and five months in federal prison and three years supervised release.

Elhassani pleaded guilty to financing terrorism in November 2019.

“As Elhassani admitted, she made multiple trips to Hong Kong to smuggle tens of thousands in cash and gold, knowing that the funds would be used to support ISIS in Syria. We repatriated Elhassani from Syria because every nation is responsible for holding its citizens accountable and addressing the future threat they may pose. We will not stop,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.

Elhassani admitted to helping her husband and his brother join ISIS by taking two trips to Hong Kong between November 2014 and April 2015 to deposit more than $30,000 in gold and cash in a safe deposit box. She admitted to melting down gold to make it look like jewelry so it wouldn't be disclosed on customs forms.

During her last trip to Hong Kong, in late March 2015, Elhassani obtained tactical gear, including rifle scopes and image-stabilized binoculars, according to court documents.

In June 2015, Elhassani and her family entered Syria. In July of 2018, Elhassani and her children were transferred from the custody of the Syrian Democratic Forces to U.S. law enforcement custody.

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