Khalid Ouazzani, 32, born in Morocco and a U.S. citizen since 2006, has plead guilty to funding al-Qaida terrorists during 2007 and 2008. The used car and auto parts dealer also admitted to attempting to convince other U.S. citizens to join the al-Qaida terrorists in fighting the U.S. on the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia.
According to an Associated Press report, Ouazzani, who was initially arrested on 33 counts, has plead guilty to one count of money laundering, one count of bank fraud and to conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization.
According to U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips, while Ouazzani was actively attempting to financially support terrorism, he "At no point prior to his arrest was he any threat to cause imminent harm or danger to the citizens of our community [Kansas City, Missouri]."
Prosecutors explained to the court that Ouazzani first came to the U.S. and obtained permanent residency status in July 2004, and became a full citizen two years later in 2006. In 2007, Ouazzani used false information to obtain a $175,000 line of credit, which he only partially used to fund his business, Truman Used Auto Parts.
In May 2007, Ouazzani wired $112,830 - using the funds from the commercial loan - to the United Arab Emirates. The money was then used to buy an apartment, which was later sold at a $17,000 profit, according to the AP. Those funds were then sent, with the help of a co-conspirator, to al-Qaida. Ouazzani also sent an additional $6,500 through a co-conspirator in November 2007 to al-Qaida.
Ouazzani also owes $17,000 in back rent
In addition to funding terrorism, Ouazzani is also being accused of owing $17,000 in back rent to Dennis Hogan, the owner of the land that Ouazzani used to run Truman Used Auto Parts.
"I'm shocked and stunned but I'm not surprised because he was such a low-life," Hogan told The Associated Press. "Once he got in, he stopped paying his bills almost immediately."
Ouazzani claims regret
Ouazzani's attorneys, Robin Fowler and Tricia Tenpenny, said, "[Ouazzani] acknowledged the wrongfulness of his acts. He deeply regrets what he has done, and is taking steps to atone, to the extent he can, for his crimes. He will continue to do so."
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