A Wakefield teenager was arrested Thursday for running a gift card resale scheme to raise funds for the foreign terrorist organization ISIS, federal prosecutors said.
Mateo Ventura, 18, is set to face trial in federal court in Worcester for knowingly concealing the source of material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, according to the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ventura provided several gift cards to someone he believed to be an ISIS supporter, with the intention that the gift cards would be sold on the dark web for slightly less than face value and profit that result are used to support ISIS, prosecutors alleged in the charging documents. .
Ventura reportedly said he wanted the proceeds to go to ISIS “for the war against the kuffar” (unbelievers).
In total, it was prosecutors who said that between January and May 2023, Ventura donated $705 intended to support ISIS.
Ventura got involved in the scheme by engaging in lengthy conversations with an undercover FBI agent who posed as a member of the terror group, documents show. He also expressed a desire to go abroad to join and fight ISIS.
A discussion log of the desired move was included in the documents. It reads as follows:
OCE: How long does it take to get a passport?
VENTURA: every other month
OCE: Able to pay for the flight? Do you also need money to pay the smugglers?
VENTURA: Yes, I have a stack of money.
OCE: After getting your passport, do you want to leave?
OCE: Have some zawja [wife]? Family?
OCE: Only you go there.
VENTURA: Only me yes family stay
The charge of knowingly concealing the source of material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, up to lifetime supervised release and a fine of up to at $250,000.
See the criminal complaint below:
Wakefield teenager accused of organizing scheme to raise funds for terror group ISIS by Fox Boston Staff on Scribd
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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