An Upper East Side woman has been convicted of using cryptocurrency to fund terrorism in Syria.
Victoria Jacobs (aka Bakhrom Talipov), 44, was found guilty on three counts of providing support for terrorism, as well as conspiracy, money laundering, and weapon possession charges. She faces up to 25 years in prison.
The trial began on Jan. 16 and lasted about two weeks.
Last year, Jacobs was indicted for sending over $5,000 to Malhama Tactical, a military contractor known as “the Blackwater of jihad,” which fought alongside Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, a U.S. designated terrorist organization.
Prosecutors say Jacobs also laundered more than $10,600 for Malhama Tactical, obtaining the funds from supporters from all over the world and sending them to the group’s Bitcoin wallets.
As reported by the New York Times, prosecutors said that Jacobs had purchased “throwing stars, combat knives and other weaponry, and said that she had asked for guidance from abroad while she carried out the jihadist mission on her own.”
Jacobs’ attorney argued that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter — it’s all a matter of perspective.”
This case was apparently a first of its kind.
“We are proud to have secured a conviction in the first New York State Court terrorism financing case,” wrote District Attorney Alvin Bragg on X (formerly Twitter). “We will not allow Manhattan to serve as a base for terrorism at home or overseas. This trial exemplified the depth of experience, skills, and resources that makes this office unique. Alongside our partners at the NYPD, we are well-equipped to handle these complex, far-reaching cases that are critical to the safety of New Yorkers.”
The Counter Extremism Project lists Jacobs as an “extremist leader” and says she “sought support from online forums as she claimed she was a ‘brother’ that was ‘behind enemy lines’ and that she needed prayers to build the ‘courage, strength, guidance, and wisdom to carry out certain missions.’”
It’s also reported that in March 2022 she was arrested and charged with third-degree grand larceny for engaging in a rental scam in Southampton, “despite not having the right or privilege to rent the residence.”