Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi Plead Not Guilty to Fraud and Aiding ISIL Counts

UPDATE, OCT. 26, 1:39 P.M.: Nader Elhuzayel and Muhanad Badawi of Anaheim pleaded not guilty last week at the Reagan courthouse to all the charges against them.


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The pair were ordered to return to the federal court in Santa Ana on Jan. 25 for a status hearing, and their trial is set for June 7, 2016, in front of U.S. District Judge David O. Carter.

ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 9, 6:30 A.M.: Two Anaheim men indicted in June for conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are named in a new indictment alleging bank fraud and financial aid fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Nader Elhuzayel, 25, and Muhanad Badawi, 24, were named in a superseding indictment returned Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Santa Ana, where Elhuzayel is now charged with 25 counts of bank fraud and Badawi faces a single count of federal financial aid fraud.

Elhuzayel is accused of defrauding three different banks in April and May by depositing stolen checks into his personal checking accounts and then withdrawing cash at Orange County branch offices and ATMs, according to the indictment.

Badawi allegedly used his federal financial aid to purchase a plane ticket to Turkey for Elhuzayel, the indictment also alleges.

The superseding indictment also reiterates the previous charges stemming from the investigation by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in Orange County. It is alleged both men conspired to provide material support to ISIL, that Elhuzayel tried to provide material support to ISIL and that Badawi aided and abetted that attempt. The government claims the alleged terrorist activity coincided with the alleged fraud schemes.

Elhuzayel and Badawi, who remain in federal custody without bond, pleaded not guilty to the counts against them in June. That was a month after Elhuzayel was arrested at LAX as he tried to board a plane to Turkey. Before then, the government alleges, he and Badawi
used social media to discuss ISIL and terrorist attacks, expressed a desire to die as martyrs, and made arrangements for Elhuzayel to leave the U.S. to join ISIL.

Now, in addition to a maximum of 15 years in federal prison for a conviction on each terror-related count, Elhuzayel faces up to 30 more years for each bank fraud count and Badawi is looking at five more years for the financial aid fraud count, the government says.

Their trial is scheduled to begin June 7, 2016, before Judge David O. Carter in Santa Ana.

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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