Prosecutors seeking 10 year sentence for Samantha Elhassani

The United States Attorney's Office is recommending a ten year sentence for former Elkhart resident Samantha Elhassani's conviction for financing terrorism.

Elhassani pleaded guilty to financing terrorism in November 2019.

In her plea agreement, Elhassani admitted to helping her husband and his brother join ISIS by taking two trips to Hong Kong 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.

Elhassani is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison, life probation and a $250,000 fine.

Elhassani's attorney argues the 10 year sentence is extreme and a sentence of 30-37 months in prison would be more appropriate in its response to the presentencing report.

While in custody, Elhassani contracted COVID-19, which her attorney argues would put her at greater risk for health complications while in prison.

Additionally, the defense argues Elhassani was abused by her husband and suffers from mental illness that has not been treated. A long prison term would not allow her to be treated for PTSD and the mental illness, the defense said.

Elhassani's sentencing date has been moved to August 27.

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