Oytun Ayse Mihalik, Turkish National Living in OC, Accused of Funding Pakistan Terrorists
Ah, Pakistan, that U.S. . . . ahem . . . ally with the homegrown terrorists trying to blow up American soldiers and citizens abroad. Let's us keep those special friends in mind while checking out this: Oytun Ayse Mihalik of La Palma has been indicted on federal charges of providing material support to terrorists in you-know-where that could land her in prison for 53 years with a conviction. A lawful permanent resident of the U.S., the 36-year-old Turkish woman allegedly sent $2,050 to Pakistan to help fund attacks against American military personnel.
Mihalik, who has been in custody since trying to board a plane to Turkey with a one-way ticket on Aug. 27, was named in a four-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury this week, according to an FBI release.
Three counts regard three Western Union wire transfers she made to someone in Pakistan over the course of three weeks at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 that totaled $2,050 all together. The counts allege Mihalik provided money to an individual with the knowledge that the money would be used to prepare for and carry out attacks that would kill U.S. military personnel and other people overseas.
The fourth count accuses her of lying to federal agents about how many wire transfers she made and the alias she used on one of them. The count alleges she made false statements to special agents of the FBI and the Homeland Security Investigations division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during an interview at LAX upon arrival Aug. 8 from a six-month trip to Turkey.
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Each count of providing material support to terrorists carries a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison, according to the FBI release, while the charge of making false statements in a matter involving international terrorism carries a statutory maximum sentence of eight years in federal prison.
Mihalik was initially indicted Aug. 30 on a single count of making false statements, which drew from her a not guilty plea and a scheduled Feb. 14 trial date in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Jacqueline H Nguyen. An arraignment hearing has not yet been set for the other three counts contained in this week's indictment, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
The FBI notes Orange County Sheriff's Department investigators and the Orange County Regional Computer Forensics Lab "provided valuable assistance" to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in the Mihalik case. The task force includes special agents from ICE and the FBI.
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