Welcome to Federal Prison, Mohammed: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2009/vol2/116549.htm Holy Land Foundation Revisited On November 24, 2008, in the Northern District of Texas, all defendants in United States v. Holy Land Foundation were found guilty by a jury of all counts charged. On November 12, 2008, the jury began deliberating. The defense rested its case on November 6, 2008, and closing statements began on Monday, November 10, 2008. Holy Land Foundation (“HLF” was a Hamas front organization that received start up assistance from Mousa Abu Marzook—a leader of Hamas and a specially designated terrorist—and raised millions of dollars for Hamas over a thirteen-year period. The new trial results from a mistrial declared on October 22, 2007, in the Northern District of Texas, when a jury found defendant Mohammed El-Mezain not guilty as to most charges, but failed to reach a verdict on a material support count against him, and deadlocked on the remaining counts against the other defendants. All other defendants at trial—Shukri Abu Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mufid Abdulqader, and Abdulraham Odeh—and all counts resulted in a mistrial. The case was re-assigned for retrial in 2008. HLF received start up assistance from Mousa Abu Marzook, a leader of Hamas. It was the largest Muslim charity in the United States until it was declared a Specially Designated Terrorist Organization in 2001 and shut down. HLF raised millions of dollars for Hamas over a 13-year period. Hawala, Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing On November 4, 2008, in the District of Maryland, Saifullah Anjum Ranjha, a Pakistani national residing in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, was sentenced to 110 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to launder money and for concealing terrorist financing. The judge also signed a preliminary order forfeiting $2,208,000 of Ranjha’s assets. Ranjha was born in Pakistan and became a lawful permanent resident of the United States in September 1997. He operated a money remitter business in the District of Columbia known as Hamza, Inc. During the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) led investigation, a cooperating witness, acting at the direction of law enforcement, presented himself to Ranjaha and his associates as someone involved in large scale international drug trafficking, international smuggling of counterfeit cigarettes and weapons. He also represented that he was providing assistance and financing to members of al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations and their operatives. From October 2003 to September 19, 2007, the cooperating witness gave Ranjha and his associates a total of $2,208,000 in government funds to transfer the monies abroad through the hawala informal money transfer system, bypassing conventional banking systems and regulations. The cooperating witness represented that the monies were the proceeds of his purported illegal activities. There were a total of 21 hawala transactions in amounts ranging from $13,000 to $300,000. Most of the monies were turned over to Ranjha in locations in Maryland. On a few occasions the cooperating witness met Ranjha and other co-conspirators at Hamza, Inc. to provide monies for a particular hawala transfer. Ranjha arranged with his associates for the equivalent amount of monies, minus commissions, to be delivered to the cooperating witness, his third party designee, or a designated bank account in Canada, England, Spain, Pakistan, Japan and Australia. Ranjha kept a commission of approximately five percent of the amount of currency transferred. Other conspirators involved in a particular transaction retained an additional commission of between three to five percent of the transaction amount. All the funds transferred abroad were picked up by cooperating individuals and returned to the Government. Other agencies involved in the investigation included, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Division. International law enforcement partners included the Spanish National Police, Australian Federal Police, London Metropolitan Police, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. NGO Support of a Terror Organization On August 25, 2008, in the Southern District of Florida, Richard David Hupper was sentenced to 46 months in prison and a $15,000 fine. He had pled guilty on May 21, 2008, to one count of providing material support to Hamas, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2339B. Between December 2004 and September 2006, Hupper, a United States citizen, traveled on numerous occasions to the Middle East. He met and worked with individuals in the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a pro-Palestinian nongovernmental organization (NGO), and gradually became interested in assisting Hamas. Through his contacts with ISM, Hupper became friendly with a major figure in the ISM and a suspected Hamas member. On several occasions during an approximate two year period of time, Hupper provided money, both in person and via Western Union wire transfer, with knowledge that the funds he gave were going directly to Hamas. These funds were to be used by Hamas in a variety of ways including assisting the families of Israeli-imprisoned Hamas members. Hupper also procured a fraudulent passport using an alias after the government restricted his travel to the Middle East. He was earlier arrested and prosecuted for identity theft. After his arrest on the identity theft charges, Hupper was interviewed and admitted to the illegal conduct to which he later pled.