A federal grand jury indicts a California woman for allegedly funding terrorist activities
Oytun Ayse Mihalik is accused of giving money, to be used in attacks, to someone in Pakistan
Federal authorities say the money is being used to carry out attacks against American troops
A California woman was indicted late Wednesday on charges of sending money to Pakistan to help fund terrorist attacks against U.S. military personnel, federal officials said.
Oytun Ayse Mihalik, 39, of La Palma was charged with three counts of giving money to someone in Pakistan who knew the funds would be used to prepare and carry out attacks against American troops, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said in a statement.
Mihalik, a native of Turkey, was accused of sending $2,050 in three wire transfers to a person in Pakistan over a period of three weeks in late 2010 and early 2011, the statement said.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the attorney’s office, would not comment on the identity of the person in Pakistan.
A telephone message left late Wednesday by CNN for Mihalik’s attorney, Alan Eisner, was not immediately returned.
Mihalik has been in U.S. custody since August 27, 2011, after she was detained at Los Angeles International Airport where she was preparing to board a flight to Turkey, the statement said. She had a one-way ticket, it said.
Federal authorities say they first questioned Mihalik on August 8 at the airport where she had just arrived from a six-month trip to Turkey. At that time, they allege she lied to agents, saying she had never used an alias to send money via Western Union to a person overseas, authorities said.
It was unclear how authorities linked Mihalik to the alleged payments, and they did not say how they identified her alleged use of an alias.
Mihalik was initially indicted on August 30 on one count of making a false statement.
A federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment Wednesday, charging Mihalik with three counts of providing material support to terrorists and one count of making a false statement.
The charge of providing material support to terrorists carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison; the charge of making a false statement in a matter involving international terrorism carries a maximum penalty of eight years.
An arraignment date has not yet been set. A trial on the initial count of making a false statement was previously scheduled for February 14.