NYC woman gets 18 years in prison for funding terrorism using Bitcoin

A New York woman gets 18 years in prison for laundering $12,000 in Bitcoin to fund a terrorist group in Syria.

Victoria Jacobs, also known as Bakhrom Talipov, 44, was sentenced to 18 years in prison by a New York State court jury after being found guilty of terrorism financing through cryptocurrency. In a press release, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said that Jacobs was “fully immersed in online terrorist ecosystems,” emphasizing her assistance in “raising and laundering thousands of dollars” for Syrian terrorist groups.

“From the safety of her Manhattan apartment, she enabled these groups to access our city’s financial markets in order to help further their mission.”

District Attorney Alvin Bragg

Jacobs was convicted of three felony counts of providing support for an act of terrorism, as well as guilty of conspiracy, money laundering and criminal possession of a weapon. In the press release, prosecutors say Jacobs sent more than $6,000 to a terrorist group called “Malhama Tactical” and laundered $12,000 by getting money from supporters worldwide through cryptocurrency and wire transfers (Western Union and MoneyGram), which was then sent to Bitcoin wallets “controlled by Malhama Tactical.”

The press release notes that Jacobs not only sent cryptocurrency but also supplied a detailed U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook to an online group linked with the terrorism organization to assist in making bombs in Syria, and bought Google Play gift cards for the organization. Prosecutors also disclosed that on an online forum, Jacobs identified herself as a “brother” operating “behind enemy lines,” soliciting prayers for the “courage, strength, guidance, and wisdom to carry out certain missions.”

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