Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

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Lebanese gun smuggler busted in Michigan

August 4, 2015

He hid guns and gun parts in Porsches. From Fox 17 in West Michigan:

Grand Rapids man arrested, suspected of smuggling guns to Lebanon

Posted 2:19 PM, July 29, 2015, by Bob Brenzing

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Grand Rapids man has been charged in federal court for smuggling handguns overseas to Lebanon, some of which were hidden in parts of disassembled Porsches.

Gilbert Oscar Elian, who also has a residence in Lebanon, purchased 93 handguns between January of 2012 and May of 2014 at local retailers, including Cabela’s and Silver Bullet, according to court documents.

Elian told a Grand Rapids Police detective and an officer from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in an interview that he had taken about 65 of the guns to his residence in Lebanon.  Each of the guns was properly checked in with TSA on flights that Elian made to Lebanon.

Elian did not have an export license for the firearms, but he told agents that he was unaware that he needed one.  Elian told agents earlier that he was an owner of Prestige Imports in Grand Rapids and that he imports and exports auto parts, specifically Porsche parts.  The owner of Prestige Imports tells FOX 17 that Elian had no association with Prestige.

In June of 2015, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Chesapeake, Virginia inspected a shipping container heading to Lebanon, which was listed as being shipped by Elian.  Because of the earlier investigation into Elian’s activities with guns and Lebanon, agents searched the container.  The officers reported that in the oil pans of the Porsche engines that were inside the shipping container, they found disassembled handguns packed in felt and plastic.

Investigators say they found 20 disassembled handguns and 23 gun magazines in the Porsche engines.  One of the guns allegedly was registered to Elian and another was unregistered…

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Jebril—Hamas fan, insurance fraudster, ISIS hero

September 14, 2014

While raiding the home of Ahmad Jebril and his father Musa Abdallah Jebril on suspicions of fraud, the FBI agents discovered a poster for Hamas, firearms, and blank passports. The Jebrils were eventually convicted on 42 counts of fraud including money laundering and bank fraud charges. At their 2005 trial it was learned that the Jebrils owned several rental units, which they enjoyed trashing in order to submit false claims to their insurance carrier. Netting over $400,000 from their crimes, no clear accounting of how they spent their money or to whom they transferred it has come to light yet.

Insurance fraud has been documented in other cases as a revenue measure for organized crime syndicates.

Ahmad Jebril spent part of his prison sentence in a federal penitentiary in Indiana that, according to the Detroit Free Press, “has been called Guantanamo North because many of the prisoners are Muslims whom prosecutors have tried to link to terror cases.” Only positive influences from his cell mates, to be sure.

Since his release, Jebril’s popularity among terrorists and his debts for restitution have only grown. Thanks to those who sent this in from the Detroit Free Press on Aug. 21:

U.S.: Dearborn cleric popular with ISIS fighters owes $250K for fraud

A cleric in Dearborn popular with supporters of the militant group ISIS owes a quarter of a million dollars in restitution and other costs stemming from his fraud convictions, according to newly filed court records.

Ahmad Jebril, 43, who has gained an international following among ISIS fighters and sympathizers, is on probation after serving 6½ years in prison. After being released in 2012, he has used social media to become what experts say is the most popular religious leader for Islamists from the West fighting for ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State…

Federal authorities in Detroit are trying to collect more than $250,000 in restitution from Jebril and more than $3,600 in special assessments for 42 counts of fraud. So far, Jebril has paid only $2,790, according to a motion filed Aug. 11 by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit. On Aug. 12, U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen approved the government’s motion, which calls for “actions necessary to enforce the collection of the restitution.”

In the motion, federal prosecutors wrote that a probation officer said she has “financial information about (Jebril) that would be helpful” to set up an “appropriate repayment schedule.” Jebril’s liability for restitution expires 20 years after his release from prison, which means he would have to pay more than $1,000 a month to pay his amount in full, which he is currently not meeting, said prosecutors.

Jebril and his attorney did not returns calls or an e-mail seeking comment. He was to appear for a deposition in the case on Aug. 13.

The government’s move to collect money from Jebril comes after Rosen placed restrictions on the Dearborn cleric in June because of his probation violations. Jebril was traveling out of state to speak at Islamic centers, but now is not allowed to leave the eastern half of Michigan and must share information about his computer activity to his probation officers if asked. The restrictions came after a Free Press report in May that noted his extensive activities online.

The Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence released a report in April that said Jebril was the most popular inspirational figure for Western fighters flocking to the Middle East to join ISIS…

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Illicit transfer news: recommended reading

February 20, 2014
  • Palestinian Islamic Jihad “receives between $100-$150 million dollars annually from Iran,” says an Iranian expert… more>>
  • FinCEN shuts down a Michigan-based hawala dealer who sent 8,000 wires to Yemen and never checked a single customer’s ID… more>>
  • We don’t know how much money is financing terrorism, and we don’t know how much it costs to combat its financing either, so how do we know if what we’re doing is working?  More>>
  • A New Jersey company illegally shipped $70,000 worth of protective gloves to Iranmore>>
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Helping Hand honored despite close ties to a Hamas-funding Pakistani charity

September 12, 2013

Charity Navigator, a leading evaluator of nonprofit groups in the U.S., has published 15 different “top 10” lists to help donors assess charities.  Among those lists is a list of 10 charities with low overhead costs that rely on private donations.  Helping Hand for Relief and Development, a Michigan-based Islamic charity, ranks seventh on that list.

Charity Navigator does not appear to have factored in Helping Hand’s ongoing cooperation (see here and here) with the Al-Khidmat Foundation, a Pakistani charity which gave a 6 million rupee check to Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in 2006.

The Pakistani tie-in is even more alarming considering that the auditing firm that prepared Helping Hand’s financial statement for 2011, the most recent year available, divulged that “We did not audit the financial statements of the Organization’s operations in Pakistan which reflect total assets and revenues constituting 55 percent and 60 percent, respectively, of the related consolidated totals.”

It is also worth noting that Helping Hand reported having $7 million in medical supply and drug assets in their last tax return.  The fair market valuation of drugs donated to and distributed by charities, especially deworming medication, has been an area of increased scrutiny.  Helping Hand states that it uses current accounting standards to comply with IRS mandates in this area, but some analysts still believe that in-kind donations to charities are being overstated.  This has the effect of exaggerating the net worth of some charities, and it makes administrative costs appear to be a small share relative to their size.  Charity Navigator is well aware of this ongoing controversy, but how closely it examined drug valuations by charities on their top 10 lists is unclear.

The Charity Navigator rating is already being exploited by Helping Hand, which is running a banner across its homepage in large font and all capital letters with misleading phrases “TOP 10 HIGHLY RATED CHARITY” and “DONATE WITH CONFIDENCE” along with Helping Hand and Charity Navigator logos.  Muslim news websites such as ABNA (hat tip to Creeping Sharia and Islamist Watch) have touted the rating as well.

The Muslim advocacy group ICNA has also congratulated Helping Hand for the rating in a press release.  But the ICNA statement should be taken with a grain of salt because 1) ICNA is a partner organization with Helping Hand, and 2) ICNA has received a loan from Helping Hand with favorable financing terms.  ICNA’s indebtedness to Helping Hand was not disclosed in the press release.

Institutional donors who may be considering donations to Helping Hand and private donors who intend to give zakat to Helping Hand should consider the serious questions about Helping Hand’s operations in Pakistan and donate elsewhere.  Banks with relationships with Helping Hand should also review the risk of maintaining those accounts.

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Chase assesses risk, closes suspected accounts

June 21, 2013

Banks have a responsibility under federal law to deny account services to customers who are at risk for funding terrorism, money laundering, or evading economic sanctions.  Banks can’t allow customers to send money to countries that lack safeguards against such activities either.

Accordingly, JPMorgan Chase has closed an unspecified number of accounts that are at risk for abuse or criminal behavior by customers who are, according to the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muslims or Arabs.

The Arab-American Civil Rights League also alleges 50 “improper” account closures by banks such as Flagstar, Charter One, and Comerica.

Opponents of such bank closures would be better served by proposing changes to federal law rather than threatening lawsuits against banks that are simply carrying out their duties under the existing rules.

From the Detroit News:

Muslim, Arab-American groups say banks closing accounts without explanation

  • Mark Hicks, June 13, 2013

Two groups are seeking answers to what they say is a growing practice of Muslim and Arab-American groups having their bank accounts closed without cause or explanation.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations–Michigan is asking the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, to investigate the complaints and the Arab-American Civil Rights League in Dearborn is pursuing a lawsuit against major banks.

“We see a type of pattern taking place in the Muslim/Arab community,” Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR–MI, said Wednesday. “Bank accounts are being closed with no real justification … so it appears on the surface that there could be some sort of bias involved.”

One of the latest reported incidents, according to CAIR–MI, involved Alif Arabic, a business described as teaching Arabic to American citizens online. Officials there were notified May 30 by JPMorgan Chase their bank account would be terminated within 10 days. JPMorgan Chase officials did not detail why, according to the letter.

When an Alif Arabic employee asked the bank for clarification, they were told an analytical tool “alerted them that Alif’s account could pose a possible risk,” the letter read.

Walid said such a move could suggest discrimination based on religion and ethnicity. “We need answers and the bank is not giving answers,” he said.

Emily Smith, a JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman, said privacy reasons prevent the company from discussing details of its customer relationships. However, “on occasion, Chase determines it can no longer maintain a customer’s account but those decisions are not based on the customer’s religion, ethnicity or any other similar basis.”

Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said: “We have just become aware of the letter and have not had a chance to review. We will look into these allegations.”

Meanwhile, the Arab-American Civil Rights League plans to file a lawsuit after nearly 50 incidents of individual and business accounts being closed.

The group earlier this year asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and launched a hotline for complaints after some area residents were notified by Huntington National Bank and other institutions their accounts were terminated without explanation.

That affected professionals and others who believed they acted lawfully, said Nabih Ayad, the league’s board chairman.

“It’s just a shame this continues to happen. It’s not fair to the community,” he said. “These sort of circumstances, they’re basically telling Arab Americans: ‘You’re not at the same level or beneath the average American”…

H/t to Creeping Sharia for sending this over.

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Conviction of Islamic “charity” leader upheld

July 4, 2012

The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from the Muslim engineer who helped fund dirty bomber Jose Padilla.  Kifah Jayyousi was convicted in 2007 for providing material support for terrorism.  Prior to his trial, his attorney claimed that “Jayyousi simply raised money for charitable activities and plans to plead innocent to the charges.”

Yes, most of the jihadist financiers regard themselves as simply carrying out zakat-related activities as mandated by the Koran.  They use the term “charity” in English, but as we know by now, zakat doesn’t just go to the poor—it goes to the mujahideen who wage holy war in the cause of Allah.  Jayyousi even described American Islamic Group, the “charity” he created, as “the voice of the mujahideen.”

From The Detroit News on June 26:

Ex-DPS official’s terror conviction upheld

By David Shepardson

Washington — The Supreme Court on Monday let stand the 2007 conviction of a former Detroit Public Schools assistant superintendent charged with aiding convicted dirty bomber Jose Padilla.

The High Court without comment refused to hear an appeal from Kifah W. Jayyousi, a former school official and adjunct Wayne State University professor, who was convicted of conspiring to murder, kidnap or maim persons overseas, and sentenced to 12 years and eight months in prison.

In March 2005, federal prosecutors in U.S. District Court in Miami charged Jayyousi, now 51, with providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to commit murder and kidnapping outside the United States.

Jayyousi was convicted alongside Padilla and another man as part of a North American terror support cell.

Jayyousi lived in Detroit until his arrest.

Jayyousi is housed at a medium-security prison in Marion, Ill., and his projected release date is September 2017.

In an interview Monday, his son, Mohammed, 26, says his dad is innocent.

“He is taking this stance that this (sentence) is punishment from God,” said his son, one of the elder Jayyousi’s five children.

The family lives in the Detroit area.

In addition to his Detroit Public Schools post, Jayyousi served as a top school official in Washington, D.C., and holds a doctorate in civil engineering from Wayne State.

Jayyousi, a Jordanian native who became a U.S. citizen in 1986, was arrested at Detroit Metropolitan Airport as he returned from Qatar, where he had been overseeing a construction project for a Dearborn company.

He had founded the American Islamic Group and opened a bank account for the group in 1993 as part of an effort to raise money for “violent jihad,” the FBI said.

“Everything he did was perfectly legal,” Mohammed Jayyousi said.

A prosecutor described Jayyousi as “the money man” who provided financing and equipment to terrorist groups.

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Michigan State declined Iran-backed Dubai campus bailout

April 15, 2012

Good for MSU and Lou Simon.  If they had accepted the funds, it’s very likely that Michigan State could have been held responsible for violations of sanctions laws and an even greater financial risk.  Not to mention the moral problem of working with an investor that may have been helping Iran gain money and scientific resources to acquire nuclear weapons to destroy Israel.

Normally we hear about undue influence from Saudi (Sunni) money on Western universities, but apparently Iran has tried buying academic influence as well.  From Bloomberg on Apr. 8, which says American universities are “infected” by foreign spies:

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon contacted the Central Intelligence Agency in late 2009 with an urgent question.

The school’s campus in Dubai needed a bailout and an unlikely savior had stepped forward: a Dubai-based company that offered to provide money and students.

Simon was tempted. She also worried that the company, which had investors from Iran and wanted to recruit students from there, might be a front for the Iranian government, she said. If so, an agreement could violate federal trade sanctions and invite enemy spies.

The CIA couldn’t confirm that the company wasn’t an arm of Iran’s government. Simon rejected the offer and shut down undergraduate programs in Dubai, at a loss of $3.7 million…