U.S. Indicts Four, Charity for Sending Money to Iraq
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
A federal grand jury in Syracuse,
New York, has returned an indictment charging four people and
the "Help the Needy" organization with illegally transferring
millions of dollars to people in Iraq.
The Department of Justice said in a statement that the
indictment, returned earlier this month but unsealed on
Wednesday, charges four defendants and "Help the Needy and
"Help the Needy Endowment Inc" with conspiring to transfer
funds to Iraq in violation of the International Emergency
Economic Powers Act.
The defendants named in the indictment are Rafil Dhafir,
55, Maher Zagha, 34, Ayman Jarwan, 33 and Osameh Al Wahaidy,
41. All but Zagha were arrested in Syracuse Wednesday.
Dhafir, Zagha and the two organizations were also charged
with 12 counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy
to commit money laundering.
The indictment accuses the defendants of conspiring to
transfer funds and other economic resources to Iraq since 1994.
It said they used the name "Help the Needy" to solicit
contributions from people in the United States, deposited the
funds in accounts in New York banks then laundered much of the
money to Iraq through accounts in the Jordan Islamic Bank in
The indictment charges the defendants with conspiring to
funnel over $2.7 million through the Jordan Islamic Bank.
If convicted, Dhafir and Zagha face up to 265 years in
prison and fines of more than $14 million. Jarwan and al
Wahaidy each face up to five years in prison and a $250,000
fine while the organizations face maximum possible fines of $14
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