A singer who performed at fundraisers for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) will serve a year in prison and face deportation after pleading guilty to lying on an immigration application.
Mohamad Ali Masfaka omitted any reference to HLF on his application for naturalization despite being on its payroll for nearly a year. He denied being an HLF employee when federal agents challenged him. He pled guilty to one count in October and was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison Tuesday in Michigan.
Five former HLF officials were convicted in 2008 of illegally routing millions of dollars to Hamas through a network of Palestinian charities controlled by the terrorist group. "The purpose of creating the Holy Land Foundation was as a fundraising arm for Hamas," U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis said as he sentenced the HLF defendants last year.
In addition to singing in a band that performed at HLF functions, internal records admitted into evidence during the HLF trial show that Masfaka was hired in 1997 and organized the group's "activities in the Detroit area from his home, serving as the Detroit HLF representative."
Masfaka is a native of Syria. U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman's sentencing order included a condition that Masfaka "shall make every effort to obtain a Syrian Passport" to facilitate a subsequent deportation.