The key focus of the report is a detailed study of cases investigated and prosecuted in Colorado that involve members of a terrorist group known as Jamaat ul-Fuqra (who follow a cleric in Pakistan named Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani). This study identifies a number of White Collar Crimes (WCC) that are associated with terrorism; including credit card fraud, insurance fraud, identity theft, intellectual property crime, investment fraud, money laundering, immigration fraud, computer crime, and tax evasion. Investigation and prosecution of each of these crimes require specific knowledge and a considerable investment of time. Information on these cases was gathered through interviews and document analysis; thereby, this elicited information is presented in subject modules that identify the objectives and successes of the ul-Fuqra cases, as well as proposals for investigation techniques and agency procedures.
A fundamental objective associated with the investigation and prosecution of terrorism affiliated White Collar Crime (WCC) cases is a need for instruction; ergo, not only in terrorist affiliated matters, but additionally in methodologies of financial analysis and computer forensics. Money laundering and financial fraud are often constituents of terrorism cases; therefore, it is important for investigators to have an understanding of how to “follow the money” and advance an analysis of the discharge of funds that is accurate and admissible in court. Years of intense investigation, analysis, legal work, and cogent cooperative efforts to yield favorable results in regard to Colorado’s ul-Fuqra cases. The conclusion reached in this study demonstrate the exigency in regard to these investigations; however, the complicity of those dedicated to bringing radical Islamist’s to justice solidifies the success of anti and counter-terrorism efforts.
In 2004, the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) released a report entitled “Identifying the Links between White-collar Crime and Terrorism.” The article is an in-depth study of the similarities between white-collar crime (WCC) and terrorism as well as cases of terrorists using WCC since September 11, 2001. WCCs are crimes that often are non-violent crimes in the form of fraud to accomplish financial gain. These crimes include, but are not limited to, identity theft, money laundering, insurance fraud, tax evasion, credit card fraud, and immigration fraud. Terrorists choose to participate in this kind of crime in order to fund their missions as well as supply themselves with weapons as well as the ability to cover living expenses and travel. According to the article, there are six major categories in which WCCs are classified: Identification document fraud, financial fraud, credit card fraud, immigration fraud, mail and wire fraud, and tax fraud. Not surprisingly, out of the cases examined by the NW3C, more than half of the crimes were in direct relations to identification fraud in order to falsify passports to travel in and out of the country.
The very first case examined by the NW3C was the 1990s Colorado case involving several members of Jamaat ul-Fuqra. Documentation proved that the members were guilty of falsified insurance claims, money laundering, tax evasion, and identification fraud. The article broke down various interviews and documents in the form of modules to outline the structure of the organization to better understand the terrorist organization’s activities. Module 1 is an in-depth study of the organization. Many terrorist organizations are known to keep various documentation explaining the mission of the group as well as bombings, murders and plans to illegally acquire money. This was proven in the documents obtain during the raid that lead to the discovery of the hidden Fuqra cell in Colorado.
The second module examines the properties owned by the Fuqra cell. The investigation uncovered documentation on a vehicle search involving Stephen Paul Paster, a suspect in a 1983/1984 bombing, a homemade weapon that was capable of firing shot gun shells, and a shopping list containing questionable items that could be used to make a homemade explosive device. Further documentation became known after a raid was conducted on a storage unit in Colorado in 1989. Various paperwork obtained included information on alarm systems and weapon inventories, maps identifying locations of major gas, telephone, and electric lines across Colorado, targeting packets including bomb plots, and information on how to create homemade bombs. After a second of the storage unit, several alarming items were discovered such as large pipe bombs, more than 25 pounds of explosives, 10 handguns, various homemade IEDs, applications for membership to on “Talibeen Fuqra Jamaat,” information on guerilla warfare, potential targets across the western part of the United States, and much more. Finally, module 2 contained information on the raid of a compound in Tuttle Creek Pass. During the raid, various forms of law enforcement and other specific inspectors uncovered an abundant number of mine shafts that contained assault rifles, nearly 50,000 rounds of ammunition, and large amounts of survival gear. Due to the information gathered from the raid, officers were able to press charges against members of the compound.
Module 3 illustrated by the author, is an investigation into the fraudulent worker’s compensation claims. There were several red flags that lead to the realization of fraudulent claims such as false social security numbers that had never been issued to the claimant by the Social Security Administration (SSA), overlapping addresses, medical signatures that actually belonged to forensic medical examiners, as well as the x-rays completed for the same forensic medical examiners records. This proved the two individuals were attempting to file a claim with the same falsified information. This was not the only case of fraudulent attempts for worker’s compensation; there were three other cases involving several other individuals. In relation, the fourth module depicts the flow of cash from illegal activity such as the falsified worker’s compensation claims, to make purchases such as property. Various individuals obtain several bank account in their personal name as well as their alias names. The individual transfers several thousands of dollars, which have collected in one account from the worker’s compensation deposits and begins transferring the money into other accounts with an alias name. From there, the individual writes more checks from one alias account to another to transfer all of the funds to a third account with an entirely different bank to make payments on the Trout Creek Pass property. Various individuals were able to complete this process in order to pay for the Trout Creek Pass property without drawing suspicion.
Module 5 examines the legal challenges that go hand in hand with cases such as the illegal implications from the information obtained from the locker storage unit. At the time, Colorado had few laws that would pertain to the specific issues at hand; therefore, officials were forced to press charges on the grounds of three common laws: racketeering, conspiracy in the first degree, and theft. In relation, module 6 was created to compile learning techniques that were depicted from the case as well as ways to combat these terrorist activities in the future.
In order complete their ultimate mission, several WCCs were committed by Fuqra members to acquire funds and establish a location within the United States. Law enforcement, local, state, and federal, should be trained specifically to identify suspicious activity such as money laundering, which could be potentially funding a foreign terrorist organization.