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18-Year-Old Detained for Dark Web Gift Card Scheme to Raise Funds for ISIS

18-Year-Old Detained for Dark Web Gift Card Scheme to Raise Funds for ISIS

18-Year-Old Detained for Dark Web Gift Card Scheme to Raise Funds for ISIS

An 18-year-old male was detained for reportedly trying to use a dark web gift card scheme to earn money for ISIS.

Mateo Ventura, a Wakefield, Massachusetts resident, was detained on Thursday for “knowingly concealing the source of material support or resources that he intended to go to a foreign terrorist organization, namely the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS),” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Massachusetts.

Ventura is accused of giving several gift cards to a person he thought was an ISIS supporter with the goal of later selling those gift cards on the dark web for a little less than their face value. Authorities claimed that ISIS would be supported by the money raised and earnings made as a result of those transactions.

CNN confirms the news on its official Twitter account:

“Ventura allegedly stated that he wanted the proceeds to go to ISIS “for war on kuffar,” (disbelievers),” the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Massachusetts said in their statement announcing the charges against Ventura. “In total, it is alleged that between January and May 2023, Ventura donated $705 intended to support ISIS.”

According to the authorities, those found guilty of willfully hiding the source of financial or material support for a foreign terrorist group face sentences of up to 10 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.

On Thursday, Ventura appeared before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy in federal court. When Ventura will next show up in court is unknown.

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts stated that sentences are “imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.” “The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”

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