A prominent Islamic singer living in the United States has pled guilty to hiding his associations with a designated terrorist financier. In a federal court in Detroit today, Syrian native, Mohamad Masfaka admitted to falsifying immigration records and lying to federal authorities during the naturalization process.
According to an indictment filed on December 3, 2008, Masfaka was an employee of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), an organization proven to have funneled millions of dollars to Hamas under the guise of humanitarian assistance. Internal HLF records introduced into evidence during the trial show that Masfaka was hired on December 1, 1997 and served as the "MI Representative." He was listed receiving a salary of $12,000 for his efforts operating the "HLF's activities in the Detroit area from his home, serving as the Detroit HLF representative."
In filling out a 2002 application for naturalization, Masfaka failed to disclose his nearly year-long employment with HLF. When pressed by the investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Masfaka maintained that he was never an employee of HLF. Instead, he repeatedly said that he was merely a singer in a band that performed in fundraising events for HLF, and that he never received payment from the now defunct "charity." Bank records, however, demonstrated that HLF drafted and Masfaka had cashed at least five checks during his time with the organization.
At the time of his arrest, ICE Special Agent in Charge Brian Moskowitz said "this individual went to great lengths to avoid apprehension and will now face justice." Following Masfaka's plea of guilty, he is set to be sentenced on December 14, and will face deportation following a stint in federal prison.