“FBI Arrests Suburban Chicago Man on Charge of Supporting Terrorism Overseas”

April 22, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on April 20, 2013 released the following:

“An alleged attempt by an Aurora, Illinois man to travel to Syria in order to join a jihadist militant group operating inside Syria led to his arrest Friday evening. The arrest was announced today by Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Gary S. Shapiro, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody without incident late yesterday at O’Hare International Airport by members of the Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force as he attempted to board a flight destined for Istanbul, Turkey. He was charged in a criminal complaint filed today in U.S. District Court with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, a felony offense. Tounisi appeared earlier today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin and was ordered held until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on April 23, 2013.

In making today’s announcement, Mr. Nelson stated that the investigation that culminated in Tounisi’s arrest began in 2012 and that there is no connection between this case and the events that occurred over the last several days in Boston.

The complaint states that Tounisi is a close friend of Adel Daoud, an individual arrested in September 2012 for attempting to detonate a bomb outside a Chicago bar and that Tounisi and Daoud appeared to share an interest in violent jihad. While Tounisi allegedly discussed attack techniques and targets prior to Daoud’s arrest, Tounisi did not participate in Daoud’s attempted attack.

According to the complaint, from January to April 2013, Tounisi conducted online research related to overseas travel and violent jihad, focusing specifically on Syria and the Jabhat al Nusrah terrorist group. Jabhat al Nusrah is listed by the U.S. Department of State as an alias for al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a designated foreign terrorist organization. The complaint alleges that Tounisi searched online for information about travel from Chicago to Syria, obtained a new passport, and, beginning in late March 2013, made online contact with an individual Tounisi believed to be a recruiter for Jabhat al Nusrah. That individual was in fact an FBI employee acting in an online undercover capacity. The complaint further alleges that Tounisi and the undercover employee exchanged a series of e-mails in which Tounisi shared his plan to get to Syria by way of Turkey, as well as his willingness to die for the cause. During the exchanges, Tounisi also sought advice from the undercover employee on travel from Istanbul to the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which lies near the border of Turkey and Syria.

The complaint states that on April 10, Tounisi purchased an airline ticket for a flight from Chicago to Istanbul and on April 18, the undercover employee provided Tounisi with a bus ticket for travel from Istanbul to Gaziantep. Tounisi arrived at O’Hare International Airport’s international terminal Friday evening, and after passing through airport security, he was arrested.

If convicted of the charge filed against him, Tounisi faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

The JTTF is composed of special agents of the FBI, officers of the Chicago Police Department, and representatives from an additional 20 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Justice Department’s National Security Division assisted in the investigation.

Mr. Nelson expressed his gratitude to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the significant support provided by its officers during the arrest of Tounisi.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Former U.S. Consulate Guard Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Communicate National Defense Information to China

August 31, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 30, 2012 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— Bryan Underwood, a former civilian guard at a U.S. Consulate compound under construction in China, pleaded guilty today in the District of Columbia in connection with his efforts to sell for personal financial gain classified photographs, information, and access related to the U.S. Consulate to China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS).

At a hearing today before U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle, Underwood pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to communicate national defense information to a foreign government with intent or reason to believe that the documents, photographs, or information in question were to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation.

The guilty plea was announced by Lisa Monaco, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Ronald C. Machen, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Eric J. Boswell, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security.

Underwood, 32, a former resident of Indiana, was first charged in an indictment on August 31, 2011, with two counts of making false statements and was arrested on September 1, 2011. On September 21, 2011, he failed to appear at a scheduled status hearing in federal court in the District of Columbia. The FBI later located Underwood in a hotel in Los Angeles and arrested him there on September 24, 2011. On September 28, 2011, Underwood was charged in a superseding indictment with one count of attempting to communicate national defense information to a foreign government, two counts of making false statements, and one count of failing to appear in court pursuant to his conditions of release. Sentencing for Underwood has been scheduled for November 19, 2012. He faces a maximum potential sentence of life in prison.

“Bryan Underwood was charged with protecting a new U.S. Consulate compound against foreign espionage, but, facing financial hardship, he attempted to betray his country for personal gain,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco. “This prosecution demonstrates that we remain vigilant in protecting America’s secrets and in bringing to justice those who attempt to compromise them.”

“Bryan Underwood was determined to make millions by selling secret photos of restricted areas inside a U.S. Consulate in China,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “His greed drove him to exploit his access to America’s secrets to line his own pockets. The lengthy prison sentence facing Underwood should chasten anyone who is tempted to put our nation at risk for personal gain.”

“Bryan Underwood sought to benefit from his access to sensitive information, but his attempted betrayal was detected before our nation’s secrets fell into the wrong hands,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “Together with our partners, the FBI will continue to work to expose, investigate, and prevent acts of espionage that threaten our national security.”

“The close working relationship between the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office resulted in the capture and conviction of Bryan Underwood before he could harm the security of our country,” said Assistant Secretary of State Boswell. “The Diplomatic Security Service is firmly committed to thoroughly investigating all potential intelligence threats to our nation.”

According to court documents, from November 2009 to August 2011, Underwood worked as a cleared American guard (CAG) at the construction site of a new U.S. Consulate compound in Guangzhou, China. CAGs are American civilian security guards with top secret clearances who serve to prevent foreign governments from improperly obtaining sensitive or classified information from the U.S. Consulate. Underwood received briefings on how to handle and protect classified information as well as briefings and instructions on security protocols for the U.S. Consulate, including the prohibition on photography in certain areas of the consulate.

Plan to Sell Information and Access for $3 Million to $5 Million

In February 2011, Underwood was asked by U.S. law enforcement to assist in a project at the consulate, and he agreed. In March 2011, Underwood lost a substantial amount of money in the stock market. According to court documents, Underwood then devised a plan to use his assistance to U.S. law enforcement as a “cover” for making contact with the Chinese government. According to his subsequent statements to U.S. law enforcement, Underwood intended to sell his information about and access to the U.S. Consulate to the Chinese MSS for $3 million to $5 million. If any U.S. personnel caught him, he planned to falsely claim he was assisting U.S. law enforcement.

As part of his plan, Underwood wrote a letter to the Chinese MSS expressing his “interest in initiating a business arrangement with your offices” and stating, “I know I have information and skills that would be beneficial to your offices [sic] goals. And I know your office can assist me in my financial endeavors.” According to court documents, Underwood attempted to deliver this letter to the offices of the Chinese MSS in Guangzhou but was turned away by a guard who declined to accept the letter. Underwood then left the letter in the open in his apartment hoping that the Chinese MSS would find it, as he believed the MSS routinely conducted searches of apartments occupied by Americans.

In May 2011, Underwood secreted a camera into the U.S. Consulate compound and took photographs of a restricted building and its contents. Many of these photographs depict areas or information classified at the secret level. Underwood also created a schematic that listed all security upgrades to the U.S. Consulate and drew a diagram of the surveillance camera locations at the consulate. In addition, according to his subsequent statements to U.S. law enforcement, Underwood “mentally” constructed a plan in which the MSS could gain undetected access to a building at the U.S. Consulate to install listening devices or other technical penetrations.

According to court documents, the photographs Underwood took were reviewed by an expert at the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security who had original classification authority for facilities, security, and countermeasures at the U.S. Consulate. The expert determined that many of the photographs contained images classified at the secret level and that disclosure of such material could cause serious damage to the United States.

In early August 2011, Underwood was interviewed several times by FBI and Diplomatic Security agents, during which he admitted making efforts to contact the Chinese MSS, but falsely claimed that he took these actions to assist U.S. law enforcement. On August 19, 2011, Underwood was again interviewed by law enforcement agents, and he admitted that he planned to sell photos, information, and access to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou to the Chinese MSS for his personal financial gain.

The U.S. government has found no evidence that Underwood succeeded in passing classified information concerning the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou to anyone at the Chinese MSS.

This investigation was conducted jointly by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The prosecution is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and Trial Attorney Brandon L. Van Grack from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Guilty Pleas in African Terror Plot

April 18, 2012

Courthouse News on April 18, 2012 released the following:

“MANHATTAN (CN) – After jury selection began, two citizens of Mali pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Harouna Touré and Idriss Abdelrahman were charged with “agreeing to transport cocaine through West and North Africa with the intent to support the drug trafficking activities of Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (‘AQIM’), and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (‘FARC’). Each of these organizations has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization,” prosecutors said in a statement.

Touré, 35, and Abdelrahman, 37, were arrested in Ghana in December 2009, with a third defendant, Oumar Issa, who pleaded guilty in November 2011 and has been sentenced to 57 months in prison.

Touré and Abdelrahman face up to 15 years in prison at their sentencings, which are set for July 19 and 20.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Company and Three Individuals Indicted in Ohio for Allegedly Illegally Exporting Military Technology to South Korea

December 21, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on December 20, 2011 released the following:

“CLEVELAND— A federal grand jury sitting in Cleveland has returned an indictment charging EO System Company Ltd., Seok Hwan Lee, Tae Young Kim and Won Seung Lee with five counts of knowingly and willfully exporting; causing to be exported; and aiding and abetting the export of defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List without first obtaining an export license or written authorization from the U.S. Department of State.

The indictment was announced by Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Cleveland Field Office.

EO System Company Ltd. is a corporation located in Inchon, Republic of Korea (South Korea), while Lee, Kim and Lee are citizens and residents of South Korea.

“These defendants are charged with violating important regulations designed to protect national security,” said U.S. Attorney Dettelbach.

“The FBI and Department of Justice are committed to the protection of U.S. defense technology, particularly that which is governed by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Anthony.

The indictment charges that on or about Nov. 4, 2005, the defendants knowingly exported, caused to be exported, and aided and abetted the export from the United States to South Korea of five DRS PN: 42-15-050-003, E3500 system 25.7 mm F/1.0 Telescopes, also described as Infra Red Focal Plane Array detectors and Infra Red camera engines, which were designated as defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List.

The indictment charges that the defendants did so without first obtaining an export license or written authorization for such export from the U.S. Department of State.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendants’ role(s) in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

In a related case, Kue Sang Chun, 67, of Avon Lake, Ohio, pleaded guilty on Jan. 20, 2011 to one count of exporting defense articles on the U.S. Munitions List without first obtaining an export license of written authorization from the State Department, and one count of knowingly making and subscribing a false U.S. individual income tax return.

He was sentenced in November 2011 to 14 months in prison.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert W. Kern and Justin E. Herdman of the Cleveland U.S. Attorney’s Office, following an investigation by the Cleveland Offices of the FBI.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


International Cooperation & Collaboration on Asset Forfeiture

June 21, 2011

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 21, 2011 released the following:

“It is becoming increasingly common for criminals to commit their crimes in one country and launder illicit proceeds in another. Law enforcement partners from around the globe must work together to locate and forfeit the proceeds of these criminal activities, increasing the need for cooperation and collaboration.

To foster this cooperation and collaboration, forfeiture experts from the United States and Latin American countries are gathering in Lima, Peru, to discuss the use of asset forfeiture to fight international crime, including drug cartel operations in Latin America. The event is hosted by the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, in partnership with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) of the U.S. Department of State and the Public Ministry-Fiscalia de la Nacion of Peru.

Many of the countries represented at the conference have successfully investigated and assisted in the restraint and forfeiture of criminal funds related to narcotics trafficking, fraud, smuggling and other serious crimes. Speakers from Colombia, Mexico and the United States, as well as panelists from Peru, Paraguay, Brazil and Guatemala, will describe their experiences in using asset forfeiture as a tool in combating these types of crimes, including sharing successful investigative techniques and discussing current challenges.

U.S. Ambassador to Peru Rose M. Likins and U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division stressed in their opening remarks the importance of international cooperation, the need to understand national confiscation procedures throughout the region, and the importance of fostering international collaboration to effectively fight organized crime. Peruvian Attorney General José Peláez Bardales also addressed the more than 60 attendees of the conference, which is scheduled to run from June 21 through June 23, 2011.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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