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NYC woman convicted of using bitcoins to fund terrorism in Syria

A Manhattan jury on Thursday found an Upper East Side woman guilty of funding terrorism. She sent financial support to Syrian terror groups.
NYC woman convicted of using bitcoins to fund terrorism in Syria
Posted at 5:41 PM, Feb 02, 2024

Victoria Jacobs could spend up to 25 years in prison.

The 44-year-old woman was found guilty of funneling funds to U.S.-listed terrorist groups in Syria, using cryptocurrency to evade detection. 

A Manhattan jury convicted Jacobs of three felony counts of providing support for an act of terrorism, as well as conspiracy, money laundering and criminal possession of a weapon. The NGO Counter Extremism Project lists Victoria Jacobs, aka Bakhrom Talipov, as an "extremist leader," and it says she may have been providing information to terrorists since 2018. She was indicted last year by the Manhattan district attorney’s office for sending more than $5,000 to Malhama Tactical, a private military contractor in Syria. A 2017 exposé by Foreign Policy magazine called Malhama the “Blackwater of Jihad.”   

The New York indictment alleged that the money Jacobs sent ultimately ended up in the hands of Hay'at-Tahrir-al-Sham, a former al-Qaida affiliate in Syria. Prosecutors say Jacobs also laundered more than $10,000 for Malhama Tactical. She obtained the funds from worldwide supporters and sent them to bitcoin wallets administered by the group. Upon Jacob’s conviction Thursday, District Attorney Alvin Bragg posted on X saying, "this case marks the first time terrorism funding is prosecuted in the New York State Supreme Court. We will not allow Manhattan to serve as a base for terrorism at home or overseas."

The conviction will only fuel the debate around cryptocurrency — between those who champion its use as an alternative to regular finance and skeptics including some federal regulators who fear its use to finance criminal activities. Jacobs’ sentence hearing is scheduled for April 3.

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