Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., and New York City Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell today announced the indictment of VICTORIA JACOBS a/k/a BAKHROM TALIPOV, 43, for using cryptocurrency to provide financial support to violent terrorist groups operating in Syria. JACOBS is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Soliciting or Providing Support for an Act of Terrorism in the First Degree, as a Crime of Terrorism; Money Laundering; and other charges.
The indictment follows a year-and-a-half-long investigation by the NYPD Intelligence Bureau and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Counter Terrorism Program, which was created in June 2015 to identify and pursue investigative leads related to homegrown terror plots, extremist activities, and terror-financing.
“This case marks the first time that terrorism financing is being prosecuted in New York State Court and is one of the rare cases worldwide where cryptocurrency is alleged to have financed terrorism,” said District Attorney Bragg. “This complex case demonstrates the depth of knowledge and resources this Office has to combat terrorism and extremism in New York and throughout the globe. I thank our partners at the NYPD for their continued partnership to root out terror threats in any form they take.”
“International terrorism remains a grave threat to safety and freedom around the world,” said NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “Our department remains vigilant, and this indictment reinforces the NYPD’s unwavering commitment to bringing terrorists and all those who support them to justice. I want to thank the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, our NYPD investigators, and everyone else who worked on this critical, wide-ranging case.”
According to the indictment and other documents filed in court, from September 2018 through June 2019, JACOBS provided material support to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, a U.S. State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization, while living in New York City. JACOBS allegedly provided more than $5,000 to the terrorist training group “Malhama Tactical,” which fought with and provided special tactical and military training to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
JACOBS also allegedly laundered $10,661 on behalf of Mahalma Tactical by receiving cryptocurrency and Western Union and MoneyGram wires from supporters around the globe and sending the funds to Bitcoin wallets controlled by Mahalma Tactical. In addition to sending cryptocurrency, she also purchased Google Play gift cards for the organization.
In December 2019, JACOBS provided a comprehensive U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook to an online group – which she believed was associated with both Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and al-Qaeda affiliated Jihadist group Hurras al-Din – to facilitate their bomb-making efforts in Syria.
In August 2021, JACOBS purchased military-style combat knives, metal knuckles, and throwing-stars, posting in online forums that she was a “brother” who was “behind enemy lines,” and asking for prayers for the “courage, strength, guidance, and wisdom to carry out certain missions.”
Prior Anti-Terror Prosecutions
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has successfully prosecuted terrorists under New York State’s anti-terror laws, which were enacted following the attacks on September 11, 2001.
On Thursday, an all-count conviction was secured following the trial of radical cleric Shaikh Abdullah Faisal.
In March 2014, Jose Pimentel was sentenced to 16 years in state prison for constructing improvised explosive devices to detonate in Manhattan.
In another case, in March 2013, Ahmed Ferhani was sentenced to 10 years in state prison after the defendant pleaded guilty to terror-related charges.
Assistant District Attorneys David Stuart (Counter Terrorism Program Coordinator) and Edward Burns (Senior Investigative Counsel) are handling the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Michael Ohm (Deputy Bureau Chief of the Rackets Bureau), Judy Salwen (Principal Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau), Jodie Kane (Chief of the Rackets Bureau) and Executive Assistant District Attorneys Christopher Conroy (Senior Advisor to the Investigation Division) and Susan Hoffinger (Chief of the Investigation Division), and Ryan Rittenberg (Director of Intelligence and Analysis of Counter Terrorism), Catherine Schreck (Senior Counter Terrorism Analyst), Christine McNeill (Counter Terrorism Analyst), and Supervising Computer Forensic Analyst Douglas Daus, under the supervision of Steven Moran, Director of the High Tech Analysis Unit.
District Attorney Bragg thanked the New York City Police Department’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence Bureau; particularly investigators Sergeant Driton Gashi, Detective Atif Siddiqui, Intelligence Research Specialist Raphael Marcus, and Intelligence Research Specialist Daniel Heesemann; Detective Andrew Eaton of the NYPD’s Bomb Squad; and Police Officer Yulia Yakovleva.
VICTORIA JACOBS a/k/a BAKHROM TALIPOV
New York, New York
- Soliciting or Providing Support for an Act of Terrorism in the First Degree as a Crime of Terrorism, a class B violent felony, one count
- Soliciting or Providing Support for an Act of Terrorism in the First Degree, a class C violent felony, one count
- Soliciting or Providing Support for an Act of Terrorism in the Second Degree, a class D violent felony, one count
- Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree as a Crime of Terrorism, a class D violent felony, one count
- Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count
Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, a class D felony, six counts