Federal prosecutors have unsealed a 2008 indictment charging a Dearborn, Mich. man of lying to the FBI about his involvement with the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a charity designated a supporter of terrorism by the Treasury Department in 2001.
Five of HLF's leaders were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 15 to 65 years in May for illegally routing more than $12 million to the Hamas terror organization.
Mohamad Mustapha Ali Masfaka, a native of Syria, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Thursday as he attempted to cross from Canada into the United States in Detroit. Prosecutors unsealed the indictment Friday charging that Masfaka falsely denied having been a paid Detroit representative of HLF during the 1990s.
When FBI agents in Dearborn interviewed him in 2003, Masfaka said he worked for the HLF in 1997 and 1998, but only as a singer in a band that performed at fundraising events.
The indictment also alleges that Masfaka "also falsely told FBI agents that he never received payment directly" from the HLF. But authorities say they found five checks worth $5,000 that were written to Masfaka by HLF officials.
According to the indictment, Masfaka repeatedly lied or omitted information when asked about his connections to the HLF by the FBI and immigration authorities. Masfaka is accused of making false statements in his application for U.S. citizenship.
If convicted, he faces up to 23 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.