MANHATTAN (CN) – A Long Island man pleaded guilty Thursday to running an unlicensed money transmitting business – one of whose transactions was used to fund the attempted car bombing of Times Square. The man did not know the money would be used that way.
Mohammed Younis, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of conducting an unlicensed money transmitting business, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in announcing his plea agreement.
“One of the money transfers was used to fund the May 1, 2010, attempted car bombing in New York City’s Times Square by Faisal Shahzad, who is serving a life sentence in federal prison,” prosecutors said in a statement.
Younis ran a hawala, or money-transfer business, in New York City. Prosecutors call it “a type of informal value transfer system in which money does not physically cross international boundaries through the banking system. In the hawala system, funds are transferred by customers to a hawala operator, or ‘hawaladar,’ in one country, and corresponding funds, less any fees, are disbursed to recipients in another country by hawaladar associates on that end.
“On April 10, 2010, Younis engaged in two separate hawala transactions with customers who traveled from Connecticut and New Jersey to meet with him in Long Island. In each of the transactions, Younis provided thousands of dollars in cash to the individuals at the direction of a co-conspirator in Pakistan, but without knowledge of how the customers were planning to use the funds. At no time did Younis have the license to operate a money transmitting business from either state or federal authorities.”
One of those customers was Shahzad, who pleaded guilty to a 10-count indictment in June. Shahzad admitted that the money he got from Pakistan in April came from Tehrik-e-Taliban, which had trained him to make explosive devices.
Younis daces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at his Nov. 30 sentencing. He also will forfeit $12,000 to the Untied States.