CA woman gets prison in terrorism funding case

Updated at: 03/29/2013 3:09 PM
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(AP) SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California woman was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for wiring money to Pakistan to help fund terrorist attacks against U.S. military personnel.

Oytun Ayse Mihalik, 40, of La Palma pleaded guilty in August to one count of providing material support to terrorists. She admitted to providing a total of $2,050 in three wire transfers to a person in Pakistan with the intention that the money would be used for attacks against U.S. military personnel and other people overseas, prosecutors said.

"While the sum of money involved in this case may not seem substantial, there’s no doubt the funds this defendant sent overseas would have covered the cost of an attack on U.S. soldiers," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s homeland security investigations in Los Angeles. "Money is the mother’s milk of terrorism and we will move aggressively against those who provide financial support to groups and individuals bent on harming the U.S. and its allies."

Mihalik, who worked as a pharmacist, has been in federal custody since she was arrested in August, after she attempted to board a flight to her native Turkey. Court records show she had been cooperating with investigators.

Shortly after her arrest, Mihalik told the FBI that she believed the person in Pakistan was a member of the Taliban and al-Qaeda and he was using the money for mujahideen efforts against American military forces in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region, authorities said.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)