Indian American Man Charged With Secretly Wiring Money to Islamic State Women
- India-born Mohammed Azharuddin Chhipa began using social media to fundraise for “sisters” in the al-Hol camp beginning in 2019, claiming the money was for shelter.
An Indian American man has been indicted for secretly wiring thousands of dollars to Islamic State women overseas. Mohammed Azharuddin Chhipa, 33, of Fairfax County, Virgina, was charged with “providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization,” The Washington Post reported, citing a FBI filing unsealed on May 4. He is currently being held in jail after making an initial appearance in Alexandria federal court on May 5, The Post said. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
The India-born Chippa, a naturalized U.S. citizen, began using social media to fundraise for “sisters” in the al-Hol camp beginning in 2019, claiming the money was for “shelter,” FBI said in the filing, per The Post. “PayPal blocked an account he had been using to receive funds in March 2021, The Post said, citing the FBI.
He was arrested in 2019 at a migrant detention center near the Mexican-Guatemalan border, Agence France-Presse reported at the time. He was “the target of an Interpol ‘blue notice,’ issued because the FBI suspected him “of publishing support for violent jihad and radical Islam online.” He was later deported to D.C. on Aug. 16, 2019.
The Post detailed the FBI filing which included financial records which reveal that “from late 2019 to summer 2022, Chhipa purchased $172,000 in virtual currency and also collected $15,000 in digital funds from others.” More than $18,000 “went to wallets known to be used by ISIS women located in Syria,” the court filing said, according to The Post.
However, the total funds Chhipa sent to smuggle Islamic State women out of the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria could be much higher, the agent said, adding that as of May 4, “$60,000 remained unaccounted for.”
The filing noted that Chhipa communicated frequently with an unidentified “British-born woman and member of the Islamic State who was living in Syria and remains at large in that country.” The two appeared to discuss moving money overseas in a way that might avoid detection, the filing revealed. Citing one such exchange, the FBI reported that the woman told Chhipa over social media that any funds sent to her were “never sent directly” to her, but to accounts in Turkey “and then secretly sent to me with no tracks.
(Top photo, representative photo)